HMCS Kingston and Summerside departed from Halifax on June 26 and will spend four months deployed near the Baltic states as part of Operation Reassurance. The force will maintain high readiness to quickly and effectively respond in support of any NATO operations. The vessels each carrying crews of 46, replace HMCS Halifax and Montreal currently deployed to the Baltic Sea.
Canada leads the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup in Latvia and has been part of Operation Reassurance since 2014. The country has deployed 1,375 members of the armed forces on sea, land and air.
Aboard HMCS Summerside is a specialized diving team, which will be supported with mine searching capabilities via autonomous underwater vehicles aboard HMCS Kingston. Maritime Deployment Commander’s Chief of Staff Captain Julian Elbourne said
That both ships will join the northern groupa and will participate in exercises and mine counter measure removal and destruction.According to Captain Elbourne, mine removal has become a top priority for NATO in recent years. The commitment to send two further vessels, this time to contribute to the mine countermeasures group efforts, demonstrates Canada’s continued commitment to NATO. Sending Royal Canadian Navy ships in support of NATO objectives provides Canada with the flexibility to execute a range of exercises and operations in real training environments with our international Allies. This helps support the international effort in the Baltic region, including surveillance, monitoring, and diplomatic engagement.