Canadian Navy’s coastal defence vessel HMCS Saskatoon has begun patrols in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean in support of a multinational campaign against transnational criminal organizations.
Deploying under Canada’s operation HMCS Saskatoon is joining operation Martillo (Hammer), a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.
This deployment marks the 11th year that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have worked with Western Hemisphere and European partners to address security challenges in the region by disrupting illicit trafficking operations. In 2017, the CAF will contribute naval and air assets to the operation at various times throughout the year.
Early in the deployment, HMCS Saskatoon will also participate in a North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) exercise with ships from the United States Coast Guard and Mexico’s Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) to rehearse tactical procedures related to trafficking interdictions.
“Operation Caribbe is a first-rate example of how the Canadian Armed Forces can regularly and seamlessly join our North American allies to reduce the proceeds and power multi-national criminal organizations gain from illicit trafficking,” Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command, said. “Our naval and air presence alone are a formidable deterrent and every seizure and disruption means we are impacting their criminal activities.”
Since 2006, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force have been credited with supporting the seizure or disruption of more than 66 metric tonnes of cocaine and just under 4 metric tonnes of marijuana.
During the last 10 years, Royal Canadian Navy ships and submarines have been deployed 63 times, for a total of 1,881 days spent at sea, and Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft flew a total of 2,138 hours in direct support of the mission.