Canadian naval vessels in West Africa


The Canadian naval vessels HMCS Moncton and Goose Bay are in West Africa, where they are working alongside African nations on Operation Project West Africa and the multinational exercise Obangame Express 2022.

The Royal Canadian Navy this week said the vessels are proudly promoting maritime safety and security in West Africa in a deployment that aims to build on the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) ability to demonstrate to partner nations its readiness to effectively respond to a wide range of security threats, both abroad and at home.

Both ships participated in Obangame Express, conducting maritime interdiction operations, as well as practising visiting, boarding, searching and seizure techniques with partners and allies. The exercise was led by US Naval Forces Africa and is designed to improve cooperation amongst participating nations.

“On our first day, we were stationed off the coast of Benin in West Africa,” said Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Kathleen Wudrick. “Goose Bay was role-playing as a vessel smuggling oil. The Benin Navy came to our location, conducted a hailing exercise and eventually boarded us, searching for smuggled goods, which in this case was oil.”

The second day of the exercise saw Goose Bay stationed off the coast of Ghana where the Ghanaian Navy conducted boarding exercises, with one of its helicopters assisting.

In other missions, Moncton served as a target ship while helping the Togolese Navy simulate a human trafficking vessel boarding, while Goose Bay worked with the Nigerian Navy to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of operating conditions within the Gulf of Guinea region.

“I was very impressed with the professionalism and seamanship shown by the Nigerian Navy when we conducted a fleet manoeuvring exercise with them,” said S1 Cedric Meehan. “The Nigerians were on the ball, and the manoeuvring went off without a hitch, finishing with all the ships involved manning the rails and cheering each ship on as we conducted a sail past.”

Moncton and Goose Bay also worked closely with the Ghanaian Navy on numerous other exercises, helping to strengthen ties and improve their ability to successfully work together on multinational operations and missions.

During their time in the region, the ships will also conduct cooperative deployments with partner navies, including Italy, Denmark and the United States.

HMCS Moncton recently trained alongside the Italian Naval Vessel Luigi Rizzo, where the crew conducted a passing exercise using light signals communications, sailing in close proximity to one another to enhance naval cooperation.

In addition to the Kingston-class ships deployed, there is a shore-based contingent conducting training and capacity-building through CAF liaison officers, a Naval Tactical Operations Group, and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team.

HMCS Moncton and Goose Bay are Kingston class coastal defence vessels. Twelve of the 55 metre long ships were delivered to the Canadian navy in the 1990s.

Moncton and Goose Bay departed Canada on 20 January as part of Operation Projection West Africa and will return home later this month.