Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 03, 2009 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Extends Navy's Counter-Piracy Mission

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 3, 2009) - The Government of Canada is extending the counter-piracy mission of HMCS Winnipeg, as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One off the Horn of Africa, to the beginning of June. This extension allows HMCS Winnipeg to continue conducting operations with NATO allies off the coast of Somalia by maintaining a high-profile multi-lateral presence to defend against and deter acts of piracy.

"The Government of Canada is proud of its contribution and the extension of this vital maritime security mission," said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "The hard work of the men and women serving on HMCS Winnipeg is a shining example of Canada's commitment to global security."

NATO announced the continuation of counter-piracy operations on April 24, 2009, in light of increased pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. The maritime group consists of vessels from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

HMCS Winnipeg's deployment, conducted under Operation SEXTANT, gives Canada the opportunity to be part of a flexible, responsive international force. The purpose of her counter-piracy operations is to deter and disrupt piracy through patrolling, presence, escort of vessels as required, and boarding and approach of suspected vessels.

"The extension of HMCS Winnipeg's deployment demonstrates Canada's continued endeavour, along with our coalition partners, to contribute to maritime security," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "HMCS Winnipeg and her crew are truly making a difference, as seen just a few weeks ago when weapons were seized from a skiff."

Commanded by Commander Craig Baines with a crew of approximately 240 officers and non-commissioned members, HMCS Winnipeg and her CH-124 Sea King detachment form a highly ready and technologically advanced warship. She is expected to return to her home port of Esquimalt, B.C., in August 2009.

Note to editors:

For more information on Operation SEXTANT, visit: http://www.cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/sextant/index-eng.asp

Photos of HMCS Winnipeg's mission can be viewed at www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

B-roll available at http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/common/combatcamera/news/

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