November 16, 2018 – On October 23, 2018 HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton participated in a cooperative deployment with Armada de la República Mexicana (ARM) Hidalgo and ARM Avior of the Mexican Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Haddock as part of Operation CARIBBE. Aimed at building multinational relationships with our allies and partners, cooperative deployments not only provide opportunities for ships to work and manoeuvre together, but also allow members from each nation to visit and experience each other’s ships.
“Being in ARM Hidalgo was really amazing,” says a boatswain from HMCS Nanaimo, who cannot be named for operational purposes. “Instead of having the Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats raised and lowered from the side of the ship like we do in the Kingston-Class, we were able to drive the boat right into the ship and a door closed behind us – just like a garage.”
“Hidalgo is a relatively new ship and you could see and feel that as we were guided from the hangar all the way to the mast,” adds Nanaimo’s second crew member to visit the Mexican naval vessel. “It makes me excited for the new ships coming to the Royal Canadian Navy, and it led me to think about how we might show their capabilities to other nations like the Mexicans were doing today.”
The cooperative deployment involved exchanging personnel from each ship as well as all five ships sailing in various formations under the direction of Lieutenant (Navy) Mike Ronaldson, Executive Officer, HMCS Nanaimo.
“It’s not often that a junior Naval Warfare Officer has the chance to coordinate the movements of ships, boats, and personnel from three different nations,” says Lieutenant (Navy) Ronaldson. “Cooperative deployments are amazing opportunities to test our communication skills and interoperability with the allies and partners we work with to ensure maritime security.”
Another member from HMCS Nanaimo had an opportunity to spend some time on U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Haddock and participate in a round-table discussion, comparing things such as watch schedules, operational tempo and ship atmosphere.
“I love meeting people and sharing experiences,” says the member. “What was really interesting was that Haddock’s crew is small and relatively young compared with our crew. The atmosphere on the bridge was one devoted to cooperation and learning – the more experienced mentoring the junior members.”
While only the beginning of Nanaimo and Edmonton’s time on Operation CARIBBE, the cooperative deployment set the stage for both crews.
“We are here working with 14 other partner nations to disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics,” adds Lieutenant Ronaldson. “The cooperative deployment today reminded us we are part of a team and reinforced in us the continued commitment the Royal Canadian Navy has to maritime security. Nanaimo is Ready Aye Ready and looking forward to the mission that lies ahead.”