HMCS Charlottetown sets sail to the Mediterranean
Postmedia NewsPublished: Sunday, January 08, 2012
The Royal Canadian Navy began the next phase of its mission in the Mediterranean Sea as the HMCS Charlottetown departed from Halifax on Sunday morning.
The ship and its more than 250 sailors will be participating in NATO's decade-long anti-terror campaign, Operation Active Endeavour. A Sea King helicopter is also aboard the frigate.
HMCS Charlottetown takes over for HMCS Vancouver, which took part in Canada's foray into the war in Libya, enforcing an arms embargo through the popular uprising to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Canada's continued naval presence in the area comes as Syria descends further into chaos, with protests calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Asad through a brutal government crackdown.Nova Scotia MP Gregg Kerr, on hand for the warship's departure, said in a statement that HMCS Charlottetown's presence in the Mediterranean would give the government "the capability to respond to any future crises in the region."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said al-Asad "must go", saying the Syrian government's violent repression is "disgraceful" and will be ultimately unsuccessful.
Harper did say, however, that Canada will not yet commit any military assets to supporting the protests, as the United Nations Security Council hasn't issued a resolution to support international intervention.
The prime minister said there isn't likely to be any appetite for such a resolution - despite the apparent successes achieved in Libya after a UN resolution.
In a news release, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said international deployments, like that of the HMCS Charlottetown, show Canada's commitment to fighting terrorism.
This deployment will be the second visit to the Mediterranean for HMCS Charlottetown in the last 12 months. The frigate was dispatched to the region last March as part of the NATO-led effort to protect Libyan citizens.
The vessel will be deployed in the region until the summer.