HMCS Montréal, supply vessel leave Halifax on 6-month deployment
HMCS Montréal and supply ship MV Asterix left Halifax on a foggy Sunday for a rare deployment from the East Coast to the Indo-Pacific region.
Speaking during a departure ceremony, Rear Admiral Brian Santarpia, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, said it is a really important deployment for the Canadian navy.
"This is the first time in a very long time that we sent a ship from the East Coast all the way to the Indo-Pacific region," he said.
"We committed to increase the number of deployments that we send to the Indo-Pacific region.... Stability there is key for Canada's prosperity and security and for the prosperity and security of our allies."
A news release from the navy said HMCS Montréal, the Halifax-class frigate, is one of the most advanced warship designs in the world.
It said the ship has anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air capabilities and has a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter detachment on board.
Santarpia said the ship will go through the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, where it will work with combined maritime forces.
Halifax-based defence analyst Ken Hansen said while the East Coast departure is unusual, it only adds a few days sailing to the journey.
Hansen said there has been growing concern over the years about China's activities in the South China Sea.
"It looks like finally the political and military impetus is strong enough to get governments looking at the maritime security situation [there]," he said.
Kaleigh Smith was at the ceremony to see off her partner, Travis, who is on his second deployment.
Smith said it was a hard day, but she was happy to have other friends and family members of service members present.
The ships are expected to take part in a number of joint operations before returning to Halifax in October.
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