HMCS Algonquin was officially retired by the Royal Canadian Navy at CFB Esquimalt today.
The Iroquois-class destroyer was “paid off” in the navy tradition, concluding 41 years of service.
When a ship reaches the end of its commission, it is paid off, a term that dates from the days when sailors were literally paid the wages owing them as they went ashore.
In the RCN, the tradition continues with the term “paying off” referring to the formal ceremony where the naval jack, ensign and commissioning pennant are hauled down, the crew departs the ship for the last time, and the ship is then no longer referred to as HMCS.
“I congratulate HMCS Algonquin on its long and distinguished service in protecting Canadian interests at home and around the world,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
“Today is a historic day as HMCS Algonquin takes her final salute amongst the many sailors who serve, and have served, in the Royal Canadian Navy.”
Constructed by Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, Que., HMCS Algonquin was commissioned on Nov. 3, 1973. She sailed for the first half of her life with the Atlantic Fleet before transferring to the Pacific Fleet in 1994, where she completed her service.
HMCS Algonquin’s career included deployments to the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic Task Group, the Gulf of Oman for Operation APOLLO, and the Eastern Pacific to participate in Operation CARIBBE.
HMCS Algonquin also sailed as the command ship for then governor-general Michaëlle Jean for the International Fleet Review, marking the Canadian Naval Centennial in 2010.