Canada’s Halifax-class frigate arrives home after five-month NATO deployment

After a five-month deployment on Operation Reassurance serving as the flagship to Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), HMCS Fredericton returned to Halifax on 18 December.

While its primary role was as the SNMG1 flagship, Fredericton also kept busy with maritime security patrols and multinational exercises as part of Operation Reassurance, in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

In September, the vessel took part in Dynamic Mariner 21-2, a multinational exercise held off the north coast of Scotland.

“Fredericton acted as a multi-role point defence platform, participating in myriad simulated combat scenarios while at sea,” said Commander (Cdr) Drew Graham, the ship’s Commanding Officer.

“The main value of these exercises is to provide sailors with the experience they need against real fighter aircraft and submarines, which they can bring home and spread throughout the fleet. The sailors learned how to cooperate with other navies and their sailors, creating organizational knowledge that is not soon forgotten.”

Other activities during Fredericton’s deployment included the Flag Officer Sea Training program off the southern coast of England and Passing Exercise training with various Baltic states.

Due to a fire on board ship on November 18, Fredericton had to pull out of Flotex Silver, the Royal Norwegian Navy’s exercise off the coast of Norway.

“The crew fought the fire in accordance with their training, and fortunately no one was injured. It was in a tough place to fight a fire and we were in some rough weather so the task of fighting that fire was challenging. The crew all performed extremely well,” said Cdr Graham.

Damage from the fire consisted mainly of cabling and some control systems that were melted or suffered heat damage. While in Trondheim, Norway for repairs, a team from Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott arrived to remove and replace the cables, assisted by the ship’s crew.

HMCS Fredericton has been in service in the Canadian Forces since 1994. The class is the product of the Canadian Patrol Frigate Project, which dates to the mid-1970s.