Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 12, 2011 12:00 ET

Minister MacKay Salutes Evacuation Operations in Malta

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today visited Malta to thank all Canadians, including the Canadian Forces, working with evacuation operations in response to the crisis in Libya.

Operation MOBILE, the Canadian Forces (CF) contribution to a whole-of-government effort led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), saw the safe evacuation of 191 Canadians and citizens of other nations from Libya. All CF personnel supporting the operation are slated to depart the area by March 13, 2011.

HMCS Charlottetown, with 240 sailors and air personnel, will continue monitoring the crisis in Libya through operations with NATO's Standing Naval Maritime Group (SNMG) 1.

"The Maltese government has been very helpful in assisting our evacuation efforts from Libya," said Minister MacKay. "Without their support, this challenging operation would have been even more difficult. Canada's bilateral relations with Malta have never been better."

"The short-notice deployment of Canadian Forces personnel and assets to the Mediterranean is another example of our ability and willingness to help those in need," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "HMCS Charlottetown's presence in the Mediterranean Sea provides the Government of Canada with the means to react rapidly should any new crises unfold in the region. We are proud of our troops and the support of their families."

In all, Op MOBILE called upon the capabilities of two CC-177 Globemaster strategic airlifters and two CC-130J Hercules tactical airlifters operating between Malta International Airport (Luqa, Malta) and Tripoli International Airport in Libya. About 80 CF members, including aircrews, medical staff, military police, air movement personnel and liaison officers deployed to Malta.

HMCS Charlottetown has been assigned to Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, NATO's ongoing maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR was designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, but it has since evolved into building situational awareness, and promoting peace and security, on the Mediterranean Sea.

HMCS Charlottetown, a Halifax-class frigate, is a self-sustained platform, equipped and staffed in preparation for spending long periods of time at sea, and it does not require a docking facility in order to operate effectively.

Notes to editor / news director: For more information on Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_7932.htm.

Imagery (photo and video) from Canadian emergency evacuation efforts in response to widespread violence in Libya and the Minister's visit can be found at the Combat Camera Image Gallery at http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/. Click on the CF Assistance in Libya box on the upper right corner of the page to access this imagery

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