Royal Canadian Navy ships return from Africa

Royal Canadian Navy ships return from Africa

April 15, 2022 – Halifax, N.S. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Goose Bay and Moncton returned to their homeport of Halifax today after a four-month deployment to western Africa on Operation PROJECTION, in support of security and stability in the region.

Since departing Canada on January 19, 2022, HMC Ships Goose Bay and Moncton completed a number of successful port visits, which included strategic engagements with allies and regional partners to exchange knowledge and expertise, and strengthen relationships in maritime security.

Led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, the ships, along with a detachment from the Canadian Armed Forces Naval Tactical Operations Group and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team, also participated in Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2022 from March 12 to 17 in the Gulf of Guinea region. These efforts further strengthen relationships with African nations and our allies, positioning the Canadian Armed Forces as leaders, at home and abroad.

Quotes

“Operation PROJECTION (West Africa) 2022 marks the first time in three years that our ships have been able to support the mission to the extent that they have. I am incredibly proud of our sailors for their success on this deployment – shedding a positive light on Canada from afar. They’ve helped to make a difference not only in the realm of maritime security, but also to the lives of many on the ground through their community engagement efforts. I wish the ships’ companies a warm welcome home. Bravo Zulu for what I know has been a most memorable and rewarding experience.”

Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic

Quick facts

  • Operation PROJECTION (West Africa)

    • Op PROJECTION (West Africa) includes strategic engagements with regional nations to support capacity building, foster relationships and make a contribution to the stability necessary to advance security goals in the region. The objectives of the deployment include:
      • Promoting regional stability – contribute to efforts to reduce destabilizing trans-regional activities, which is necessary to advance sustainable development, support the development and empowerment of women and girls, as well as to create the conditions for peace;
      • Capacity building – support the capacity building efforts of key allies and partners, and continue to develop Canadian Armed Forces/Royal Canadian Navy understanding of the process and requirements or capacity building activities in Africa; and,
      • Enhancing relations – enhance relations and visibility with allies, key African partners and other African Union and Francophonie nations.
    • Port visits by HMC Ships Goose Bay and Moncton during this deployment were aimed at improving cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, and to continue building relationships with regional partners. They included:
      • Freetown, Sierra Leone – During the visit, the ships’ companies hosted two diplomatic receptions, with attendance from the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mayor of Freetown, and local senior defence staff.
      • Sailors also visited the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and donated 300 feet of rope from HMCS Oriole to help re-build outdated play structures for the chimpanzees. Additionally, the ships’ companies presented the Canadian High Commissioner with donations of 2500 feminine hygiene and sanitary products from the military family community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for furtherance to local charities in Freetown. The effort was in support of a menstrual health campaign in Sierra Leone to lessen the negative impacts on young women who often cannot go to school or work because they lack education and proper hygiene products.
      • Abidjan, Ivory Coast – During the visit, the ships’ companies hosted two diplomatic receptions with senior Ivorian defence staff in an effort to build networks between the various allied militaries working in and with Sierra Leone.
      • During the visit, the ships’ companies also left a donation of school supplies to Collège Catholique Saint Jean Bosco de Treichville, as well as a donation of children footwear for other local charitable organizations.
      • Lagos, Nigeria – During the visit, the ships’ companies hosted three diplomatic events, with a focus on the local Nigerian Navy, as a way to pay respect to their host navy, but also to showcase Royal Canadian Navy capabilities, and exchange knowledge and expertise.
      • During this port visit, sailors participated in a friendly game of chess with the children of Oshodi Underbridge via Chess in Slums Africa, an organization that uses the game of chess to empower children from impoverished backgrounds to learn academic, educational, and critical thinking skills. The event culminated with a donation of chess boards to the organization.
      • Upon departure, the ships’ companies participated in a Cooperative Deployment with the Nigerian Navy, supporting Canada’s interoperability with regional partners to exercise maritime security, and enhance understanding of each navy’s capabilities at sea.
      • Accra (Tema), Ghana – This key port visit coincided with International Women’s Day (IWD), providing the ships’ companies with the opportunity to showcase female crew members, and demonstrate diversity within our Royal Canadian Navy. During the visit the ships and sailors participated in four events related to IWD, conducted two community relations events, and hosted one diplomatic reception.
      • IWD activities included partnering with the Ghana Armed Forces to participate in a speed networking event on the Elsie Initiative, as well as an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion hosted by Global Affairs Canada and Women’s Economic Empowerment-North on women and girls in non-traditional trades. Such efforts helped to shed a light on females working in the Royal Canadian Navy in non-traditional trades, and provided opportunities to exchange dialogue on barriers and solutions to facilitating the deployment of more women in operations.
      • Community relations activities included a donation of books to the State School of the Deaf, where sailors had the opportunity to share their experiences with students and answer any questions; and, a visit to Right to Play Ghana, where a contingent of 30 sailors presented a significant donation of sporting equipment and gear, and participated in friendly sport with the children of the program.
      • Dakar, Senegal – During the visit, the ships’ companies hosted two diplomatic receptions with government and military dignitaries, in an effort to build networks between the various allied militaries working in and with Senegal, and exchange dialogue regarding future capacity building efforts, particularly in the areas of peacekeeping and maritime security.
      • Additionally, a contingent from the ships’ companies presented donations and participated in learning activities with the children of L’Empire des Enfants, an organization that provides housing, medical care, and development activities for street children to support their social reintegration.
    • The deployment marks the first deployment for HMCS Goose Bay on Operation PROJECTION (West Africa) and the second for HMCS Moncton.
  • Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2022

    • The OBANGAME EXPRESS annual exercise, led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is designed to improve cooperation amongst participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. It focuses on maritime interdiction operations, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure techniques.
    • Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2022 (OE22) sought to assess and improve Gulf of Guinea law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security, inform African maritime law enforcement partnership planning and operations, and shape security force assistance efforts.
    • OE22 took place in the Gulf of Guinea and included forces from: Angola, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Dem. Rep Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rep of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United States.
    • Obangame comes from the Fang language of southern Cameroon and other parts of Central Africa and means “togetherness”, which is symbolic of the spirit of this major exercise.

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