#NavalVisits - A Royal Canadian Navy frigate assigned specifically to patrol European waters to meet and support NATO interests in the context of tensions with Russia, is currently on a visit to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The arrival of HMCS St. John's yesterday coincided with the start of a two-day UK royal visit by the Duke and Duchess of Wessex to Dublin. Also today, a US-NATO summit held in Brussels, Belgium took place while in the Irish capital the 136m frigate is to remain in port until Friday.
Canada's commitment in Europe to NATO through HMCS St. John's is reflected in the deployment of the Halifax-class guided-missile frigate, regarded as the backbone of the nation's navy. The class have two homeports located on both sides of the Canada coast, Esquimalt in British Columbia leading to the Pacific Ocean and Halifax, Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic where as previously reported on Afloat, the UK-led NATO exercise 'Joint Warrior' was held off Scotland in April which saw the frigate's parcipitation.
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, like many NATO member states, the Canadian Navy have carried out patrols from northern Europe to the Black Sea since the return of tensions with Russia in 2014. The role of Canada is to reaffirm its commitment to maintaining defence, deterrence, and assurance in the region.
Rear Admiral Craig Baines, the RCN’s commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic commenting to Jane's said “Certainly, since really [mid-]2014, we’ve had a near-continuous presence with NATO here in the Standing NATO Maritime Groups [SNMGs]”.
Since 2014, the Halifax frigates of which HMCS St. John's (11th of the class commissioned in 1996), have provided continuous presence through deployments with either SNMG1 or SNMG2. In addition the RCN have deployed the Victoria-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) HMCS Windsor in NATO led duties.