HMCS Kingston, Summerside, set sail for Baltic Sea, North Atlantic

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HMCS Summerside is one of two Royal Canadian Navy ships to leave Halifax on Sunday to participate in a NATO mine countermeasures group. (Royal Canadian Navy - image credit)
HMCS Summerside is one of two Royal Canadian Navy ships to leave Halifax on Sunday to participate in a NATO mine countermeasures group. (Royal Canadian Navy - image credit)

Two more Royal Canadian Navy vessels have departed from Halifax to join an ongoing NATO operation.

HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside, each carrying crews of 46, set sail late Sunday morning to join Operation Reassurance in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic.

A crowd of family and friends gathered to watch the vessels depart. Both ships will be a part of a NATO mine countermeasures group.

The sounds of the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy surrounded the jetty as the vessels prepared for their mission.

Members of the Maritime Forces spoke at the departure ceremony to wish the crews well on their journey.

"About nine months ago, we started looking at other options of how we could support the NATO alliance," said Capt. Julian Elbourne, the chief of staff for commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. "These two ship companies have worked very hard in the last nine months to prepare for this very important mission."

The two crews will be gone for a four-month deployment.

This comes after the navy sent HMCS Halifax on a six-month deployment to the operation in March, not long after Russia began its attack on Ukraine. HMCS Montreal is also on station with the operation. These vessels are set to return to Canada in July, while two other vessels will be sent later.

In a statement, Lt.-Cmdr. Jason Knowles, the commanding officer of the HMCS Kingston, said the vessel's crews are well prepared to join NATO's enterprise.

"After months of preparation and training, I'm very proud of our shipmates in HMCS Summerside and Fleet Diving Unit. We are ready to continue the work on Operation Reassurance," said Knowles. "We are all leaving someone at home who cares about us, to them we owe the biggest thanks as their strength enables our success."

Officials say this will be the first deployment to Operation Reassurance for both vessels.

Aboard HMCS Summerside is a specialized diving team, which will be supported with mine searching capabilities via autonomous underwater vehicles aboard HMCS Kingston.

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