Canadian warships return to Esquimalt, B.C., after three-month operation

HMCS Saskatoon arrives in Esquimalt Harbour, B.C., sailing past Fisgard Lighthouse, in this undated DND handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / DND)

Two Canadian navy ships returned to their homeport in Esquimalt, B.C., on Thursday following their participation in Operation Caribbe, a counter-narcotics mission led by the U.S.

During their three-month deployment at sea, the HMCS Saskatoon and HMCS Yellowknife were called to 21 cases of potential illicit drug activity, and seized and destroyed roughly 872 kilograms of cocaine, according to the Department of National Defence.

The two warships sailed about 33,874 nautical miles and visited four countries during their patrols in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

One notable incident occurred just two weeks after the ships were deployed, when crewmembers helped intercept and destroyed about 800 kilograms of cocaine.

"I’m proud of the work carried out by the sailors who took part in Operation Caribbe on HMC Ships Saskatoon and Yellowknife these past three months," said Lt.-Commander Nadia Shields, task force commander, in a statement.

"Their contribution to this U.S.-led counter-narcotics operation in the East Pacific Ocean has ensured that approximately 872 kilograms of cocaine will not make it to our streets and harm Canadians," she said.

Operation Caribbe launched in November 2006. Since then, Canadian navy and air force members have helped disrupt or seize the shipment of more than 120 tonnes of cocaine, according to the Department of National Defence.