Canada’s Pacific Coast in capable hands, despite absence of naval fleet

Warships could be redeployed to respond to emergencies

HMCS Vancouver

With hundreds of West Coast military personnel, seven ships and a submarine away at sea, CFB Esquimalt may seem like a ghost town.

Two warships, three maritime coastal defence vessels and submarine HMCS Victoria are sailing in Hawaiian waters as part of a multi-national Rim of the Pacific exercise until Aug. 3.

Warship HMCS Regina left for the Arabian Sea on Tuesday. HMCS Vancouver will sail with her until they reach Hawaii.

Two frigates remain at the base, though there are other smaller naval vessels training in local waters. HMCS Calgary just left the shop and HMCS Winnipeg is about to undergo a mid-life refit.

Having the bulk of the West Coast fleet sailing at the same time is, in fact, an ideal situation, in the eyes of navy leaders.

“What we want is to have as many ships at sea doing (the) training and operations that are ultimately what we are all about,” said navy Capt. Luc Cassivi, chief of operations for Maritime Forces Pacific. “This is good news that we are getting as much as we can out of our ships.”

Ships sailing abroad or at home can be quickly reassigned to respond to an emergency situation, though there is typically advance intelligence that allows the navy to prepare, Cassivi said.

In the event of a domestic emergency, several provincial and federal government agencies would respond before the navy is called in.

“They tap on us as a force of last resort if they don’t have capacity, or if the situation is beyond what they are capable of managing,” he said.

The navy is always ready to support other agencies, which doesn’t limit it from carrying on with regular activities, such as training exercises and missions abroad.

“… We need to train our sailors and we need to get our ships ready and our crew used to managing life at sea and operations, so that when we do get a tasking for international (or), national operations we (will) have as ready a crew that we can to deal with those situations,” Cassivi said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Police investigating after crash on Hillside Avenue

Traffic was obstructed while involved vehicles removed from scene

VicPD seize knife, bear spray from youth

Youth issued large fine for weapons

Sentencing delayed for man who attacked VicPD dog

Uno later recovered from his injury and returned to work

Police ask for public’s help in locating Johnny Sam

Sam was last seen on April 17 in Esquimalt

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

B.C. RCMP arrest foreign national in connection to airport thefts

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Most Read