Crew of HMCS Fredericton adapting to life at sea on NATO mission

With a couple of days of rough weather and a little seasickness along the way, the Canadian warship HMCS Fredericton and its crew have joined their allies in Turkish waters to participate in NATO measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

See Full Article

There, according to its commanding officer, the Canadian frigate and its crew of 260 will spend the next months patrolling, communicating with and sometimes visiting other ships, and making NATO's presence known in the area.

The ship sailed from Halifax January 5 as part of Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to a NATO effort to counter Russian-backed unrest in Ukraine.

The vessel will also conduct counter-terrorism patrols and generally be ready to take on any mission required, "from search and rescue to anti-air or anti-submarine warfare and everything in between," Cmdr. Trevor MacLean said in an interview.

Since joining a German-led NATO task group, the focus has been on 'integration training,' or making sure the vessels from different countries will communicate well in the event of a threat.

"Our ability to operate with each other at sea is something we really focus on whenever we get together," MacLean said.

MacLean said the toughest part of training for the deployment was mentally preparing to spend six to seven months at sea in an enclosed space with 260 other people.

"But once you get away and get into a routine at sea and get into the day-to-day of doing something we're all proud of doing, it gets a little easier every day," he said.

The routine for crew members at sea consists of 12-hour shifts, with the rest of the time dedicated to meals, administrative work, fitness and sleep. A civilian from the personal support program is on board to organize fitness classes and activities that stave off boredom.

Every few weeks, the NATO ships stop in different ports, which means the crew can go ashore, and sometimes can get together with crews from different ships for sporting events and social activities.

"After a few weeks at sea we can go a little stir crazy but you always have that next port of call to look forward to," MacLean said.

Last June, the Fredericton and its previous crew made headlines when the vessel was shadowed by two Russian frigates during a visit by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen.

This time, MacLean says that although the crew has seen some Russian ships at sea, there have been only "standard, cordial encounters."

Nevertheless, he describes the eastern Mediterranean as a "busy spot."

"This part of the world is at a critical point in its history with the events in Syria, with the Russia's involvement and of course the human side of that are the refugees and migrants blowing across the land and using the sea as well," MacLean said. "So it's a very interesting place in the world right now."

He said the toughest part of deployment is the separation from friends and family, although technology has made it much easier to stay in touch by internet and phone.

The best part of being at sea, according to MacLean, is representing Canada on the global stage.

"You forge yourselves into a team over a few months and then you take that team to the far side of the world underneath the Canadians flag, and you get to show on a world stage what 260 well-trained, motivated, dedicated Canadians can do," he said. "It's amazing, it's an amazing experience."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hundreds at Harvard, NYC, Chicago protest China's actions

    World News CTV News
    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday at Harvard University and near Chinese consulates in New York and Chicago to support protesters who have called for that country's leader to step down amid severe antivirus restrictions in the biggest demonstrations against the government in Beijing in decades. Source
  • Chinese spaceship with 3 aboard docks with space station

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - Three Chinese astronauts docked early Wednesday with their country's space station, where they will overlap for several days with the three-member crew already onboard and expand the facility to its maximum size. Docking with the Tiangong station came at 5:42 a.m. Source
  • Colorado governor visits gay club shooting memorial

    World News CTV News
    News - Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday visited the memorial outside a gay club where five people were killed last week, solemnly walking along a line of flowers, crosses and signs bearing the photos and names of the victims outside the building with the club's owners. Source
  • Former premier Jason Kenney resigns from Alberta legislature

    Canada News CTV News
    Thousands asked for it while he was leader and now Jason Kenney has done it, announcing his resignation as a member of the Alberta legislature on social media on Tuesday. The former Alberta premier and United Conservative Party leader made his statement on Twitter, thanking constituents for supporting him during his 25 years in politics. Source
  • Records: Bullet found near 2 teens' bodies came from suspect

    World News CTV News
    INDIANAPOLIS - An unspent bullet found between the bodies of two teenage girls slain in 2017 "had been cycled through" a pistol owned by the suspect in their deaths, according to court documents an Indiana judge ordered released Tuesday. Source
  • Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court's 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage countrywide. Source
  • Biden, Macron ready to talk Ukraine, trade in state visit

    World News CTV News
    French President Emmanuel Macron is headed to Washington for the first state visit of Joe Biden's presidency – a revival of diplomatic pageantry that had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden-Macron relationship had a choppy start. Source
  • Hawaii volcano eruption has some on alert, draws onlookers

    World News CTV News
    HILO, Hawaii - The first eruption in 38 years of the world's largest active volcano is attracting onlookers to a national park for "spectacular" views of the event, and it's also dredging up bad memories among some Hawaii residents who have been through harrowing volcanic experiences in the past. Source
  • Canadian military plane intercepted by Chinese jets 'numerous' times in recent weeks

    Canada News CTV News
    Chinese military jets conducted several intercepts of a Royal Canadian Air Force patrol plane as it flew surveillance sorties from Japan as part of an international effort to enforce sanctions against North Korea, the Department of National Defence confirmed Tuesday. Source
  • Report: Many female Israeli conscripts suffer sexual abuse

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Roughly one in four women performing compulsory national service in Israel's police force and prison service have suffered sexual abuse on the job, according to a report by Israel's official government watchdog agency. Source