HMCS Halifax sets sail on 6-month deployment on New Year's Day

HMCS Halifax

Military members aboard a Canadian naval frigate began the new year by sailing out of Halifax Harbour on Friday to bolster Canada's engagement in a long-standing NATO training mission

The HMCS Halifax, manned by a crew of 252 and commanded by Commodore Bradley Peats, set sail under clear skies en route to a six-month deployment as part of Operation Reassurance in central and eastern Europe. The vessel will join Standing NATO Maritime Group One in the Mediterranean Sea.

Peats said Friday the HMCS Halifax will be the 15th Canadian warship to be sent on the operation since 2014. He said the deployment will help demonstrate solidarity with other Allied forces and showcase the Royal Canadian Navy's "continued leadership as an agile, fighting force and steadfast partner."

Canada has more than 900 members of the armed forces deployed as part of Reassurance, making it the country's largest current international military operation.

The departure ceremony on the jetty, which would typically  be bustling with families and friends of the crew, was scaled back to a limited gathering of military personnel and civilian dignitaries due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Cmdr. Christopher Rochon, commanding officer of HMCS Halifax, said Friday the crew had taken strict precautions to ensure their safety on their long journey, including an isolation period prior to their departure.