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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Colwood art centre shuts its doors indefinitely

Board members look for new location when feasible, continue online

Saanich farm stands can stay open

Council amending bylaw to allow for temporary use permits

Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store could open at Saanich shopping centre

Store application for Uptown Shopping Centre headed for public hearing

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

Most Read