Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 18, 2011 09:17 ET

HMCS Vancouver Relieves HMCS Charlottetown Continuing Canada's Efforts Against Libyan Regime

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2011) - At a brief ceremony today in the port of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, HMCS Vancouver officially relieved HMCS Charlottetown as Canada's naval contribution to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect civilian populations in Libya.

"HMCS Charlottetown and her crew have been instrumental in supporting NATO's mission to impose on the Libyan regime an arms embargo and no-fly zone. Today, her proud service to this international mission is to be continued by the crew of HMCS Vancouver in the Mediterranean Sea," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to protect the Libyan people against threats of violence from the current regime."

With this exchange, Task Force Charlottetown becomes Task Force Vancouver, while command of the Task Force is transferred to Commander Bradley Peats from Commander Craig Skjerpen. Since the commencement of NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR in the Mediterranean Sea on March 22, HMCS Charlottetown has been operating with a multinational formation of surface vessels and submarines under NATO command.

"HMCS Charlottetown has done an exceptional job," said Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. "The Captain and crew have demonstrated the professionalism and versatility of Canadian warships by departing on short notice, adapting to an ever evolving mission and contributing directly to the protection of civilians in Libya. The ship has represented Canada well and there is no doubt in my mind that HMCS Vancouver will continue the extraordinary work of HMCS Charlottetown."

"Vancouver's crew has worked hard and travelled far to be here today, ready and capable of assuming their duties with the maritime task group," said Commander Skjerpen, Commanding Officer of HMCS Charlottetown. "Commander Peats leads a modern warship with a professional and well-trained crew. I am proud of what Charlottetown has accomplished and I am confident the Vancouver team will continue improving the security of Libyan civilians while contributing to NATO's substantial military achievements of the past five months."

HMCS Charlottetown has been enforcing the arms embargo as mandated under UNSCR 1973, while actively defending the civilian population in Libya's third largest city, Misrata. The ship's crew has protected the port against seaborne attacks, safeguarded vessels conducting de-mining operations and provided accurate, real-time surveillance and intelligence data in support of NATO air strikes. HMCS Charlottetown will now depart the Mediterranean region to commence a trans-Atlantic transit to its home port of Halifax, where it is expected to arrive in early September.

HMCS Vancouver, a Halifax-class frigate, departed its home port of Esquimalt, B.C. on July 10, and arrives in the Mediterranean Sea having transited the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Panama Canal. HMCS Vancouver carries a ship's company of about 250 officers and crew, which includes a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment.

Operation MOBILE is the Canadian Forces' participation in Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, the NATO-led effort to impose on the Libyan regime the arms embargo and no-fly zone authorized in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 of March 17, 2011, which called on the international community to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas in Libya.

Note to Editor: For more information and imagery on Operation MOBILE, visit the website of the Canadian Forces Expeditionary Force Command at: http://www.comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/mobile/index-eng.asp

Video B-Roll, along with still imagery will be available on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/site/default.asp

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