Chilean resupply ship joins Canadian Navy

The Chilean resupply ship Almirante Montt arrived at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt April 4 as part of the short-term Mutual Logistic Support Arrangement between the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Chilean Navy.

The vessel will sail with the Canadian Pacific Fleet from April to June, participating in exercises that will provide sailors with essential operational experience.

Back in 2015, the Canadian Navy used the same ship from July to August for its resupply needs.

Canadian Navy leaders were forced to make arrangements with Chilean and Spanish Navies for the lease of supply ships as its own resupply vessels HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver were removed from service in 2015.

Additionally, the Navy’s new replenishment ship program, dubbed the joint support ship, is already behind schedule and officials do not expect it to join the service before 2021.

More recently, Spanish Navy’s replenishment ship ESPS Patino provided the supply capability the RCN needs. The ship integrated into RCN February and recently completed its two-month deployment. Another Spanish replenishment ship, the ESPS Cantabria, is expected to deploy with RCN from Mid-September to November.

The agreements with the two friendly navies also provided Canadian sailors with basic training in replenishment at sea (RAS) techniques and other maneuvers. It also assists RCN sailors in retaining the expertise necessary to operate the Queenston-class supply ships once they are delivered, while fostering a collaborative relationship between the RCN and the Chilean Navy.

While en route to Esquimalt, Almirante Montt rendezvoused with HMCS Vancouver to complete replenishment-at-sea training.

On March 15, 2016, eight RCN sailors, including a liaison team and bridge watchkeepers under training, embarked on the Almirante Montt. The team worked with the crew and prepared them for the additional 20 trainees from the RCN who will work on board in rotations while the ship supports the Pacific Fleet.

Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander MARPAC, said: “Having Almirante Montt back in Esquimalt is just another example of the strong partnership between the Canadian and Chilean Navies. This opportunity provides vital knowledge and expertise that will allow our Fleet and sailors to maintain operational readiness, while sustaining individual skills and core seamanship abilities.”