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Western Canada’s 1st arctic navy ship sails into Greater Victoria waters

The Max Bernays is the 1st ship to be commissioned to the Pacific fleet in 25 years

In the final leg of its journey, the newest ship in the local naval fleet arrived in Greater Victoria waters late Monday morning.

On April 15, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Max Bernays, is the first Harry DeWolf-class Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel to be transferred to Canada’s Pacific Fleet, and the first ship to be commissioned to the West Coast since 2015.

Having initially departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 11, HMCS Max Bernays transited through the Panama Canal and stopped in San Diego and San Francisco before reaching its new home port in Esquimalt.

Being a transfer from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, the ship company is a blend of west and east coast fleet members working together.

The last ships to be commissioned to the Pacific fleet was the HMCS Chicoutimi submarine in 2015, and the Kingston-class coastal defence vessels in the late-1990s.

“This is the first time for everyone on the West Coast in 25 years. It’s amazing to be the first new ship on the West Coast in almost a quarter century, and the amount of work that took our first East Coast crew and the West Coast crew to get here was amazing,” said Cmdr. Collin Forsberg, commanding officer of the ship.

After its official commissioning ceremony in Vancouver in May, the ship will have a required “short work period,” and it will be participating in the Rim of the Pacific navy exercise in Hawaii in the summer.

The Max, one of six ice-breaking ships being commissioned for the Royal Canadian Navy that were modelled on the Norwegian Svalbard ships, fared well during sea trials despite mechanical breakdowns and safety concerns for the firstArctic Offshore Patrol Vessels.

“I think it’s very normal and industry standard across the world, especially because Canada wasn’t building ships and this is the first that Irving has built ships in a long time,” said commodore David Mazor, commander of the Pacific Fleet. “There is a standard sort of industry curve and learning and so I know Max Bernays was better than Harry DeWolf and Margaret Brooke, and I think they’re all getting better [with] time.”

The ship conducted a technical validation for the fresh water cooling system, a weapon post-acceptance trial, and cold weather trials which were all successful.

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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