Canadian Ships Sail to the Arctic for Op Nanook

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Nanaimo and Saskatoon left the shelter of Esquimalt Harbour on August 14, 2015 to work in the ice‑laden waters of the Arctic for six weeks.

The two ships will make the 6,500‑km journey to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, where they will conduct surveillance and presence activities in the area for this year’s Operation NANOOK.

This year’s operation marks the first deployment north of the 60th parallel for a Pacific fleet ship since HMCS Cedarwood in 1949.

Crew aboard HMCS Nanaimo will operate a towed side-scan sonar system that will capture high definition images below the water. The device is used efficiently to create an image of large areas of the sea floor.

Once in the Arctic, HMCS Saskatoon will help recover hydrophone arrays left by scientists off Banks Island. The ship will use a Bottom Object Inspection Vehicle (BOIV) to recover the arrays, which has cameras and a robotic arm capable of manipulating objects under water. The vessel will bring three divers from Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) to operate the BOIV that will also be used to conduct surveillance of underwater topography.

Operation NANOOK is the Canadian Armed Forces’ largest sovereignty operation in Canada’s North, working alongside other government departments to establish a visible federal presence in the northern communities.

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Image: Canadian Navy