Canadian warships deployed to Arctic for two-month, multinational mission

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HALIFAX — Two Royal Canadian Navy warships have set sail from Halifax to take part in a multinational mission to the Arctic.

The Arctic patrol ship HMCS Margaret Brooke was joined on Tuesday by HMCS Goose Bay, a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel. They will be joined later this week by HMCS Harry DeWolf, another Arctic patrol ship.

The three ships are expected to participate in a two-month, Canadian-led deployment called Operation Nanook. The Canadian Armed Forces says the vessels will work alongside ships from the United States Coast Guard, the Royal Danish Navy and the French navy.

Among other things, the mission calls for community relations in the Far North and for scientific trials and patrols along the Northwest Passage to promote Arctic security.

The mission will be the first operational deployment for the 103-metre HMCS Margaret Brooke, which was delivered to the navy in July 2021. The voyage will also mark the second trip to the Arctic for HMCS Harry DeWolf, the first Arctic offshore patrol ship built at the Halifax Shipyard as part of Canada's national shipbuilding strategy.

"Together, they exemplify our navy’s versatility and capabilities, continuing to push the boundaries of where the (navy) operates," the military said Tuesday in a statement.

"Operation Nanook demonstrates the (navy's) capability to deploy forces in the Arctic, and contributes to maritime domain awareness by conducting presence patrols along the Northwest Passage."

The annual operation to the Arctic, which started in 2007, features up to four deployments throughout the year.

The latest deployment comes less than two months after Canada and Denmark settled a 50-year-old dispute over a tiny Arctic Island. On June 14, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly signed a historic deal with Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Jeppe Kofod, which divided ownership of the uninhabited island between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

At the time, Joly said the agreement ended the "friendliest of all wars," which involved both nations leaving bottles of spirits on the island with little notes for one another while removing each other's flags.

After the signing of the deal, the foreign ministers symbolically exchanged bottles of spirits, with notes attached, to end the "whisky war."

In a pointed reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Joly said the deal with Denmark had been struck "at a very important time in our history because we know that authoritarian leaders believe that they can … draw boundaries by force."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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