The HMCS Kingston is on its way to a four-month deployment to the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic region to take part in Operation REASSURANCE. The Limestone City’s namesake vessel, alongside the HMCS Summerside, departed Halifax on Sunday, Jun. 26, 2022 and will contribute to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Summerside, both Kingston-class vessels, will join Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, according to a release from the Department of National Defense (DND). During Operation REASSURANCE, the ships will participate in NATO’s high readiness continuous at-sea presence, which can quickly and effectively respond in support of any NATO operations.
Kingston-class Marine Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs) provide the navy with a “dedicated coastal defence capability,” and are crewed primarily by reservists, according to the Canadian government. Canada has 12 such vessels, six per coast. The ships can perform a wide variety of tasks, including mine countermeasures, search and rescue, control of shipping, support to other government departments in the areas of law enforcement, anti-smuggling, resource protection, fisheries and environmental monitoring, counter-terrorism, disaster relief, and scientific research.
The two vessels will join the HMCS Halifax and Montreal, who are currently on station as part of Operation REASSURANCE and will return to Canada in July. The government stated that the commitment to send two further vessels, this time to contribute to the mine countermeasures group efforts, demonstrates Canada’s continued commitment to NATO.
“I would like to wish fair winds and following seas to HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside as they depart for Operation REASSURANCE in the European region,” stated Captain (Navy) Julian Elbourne, Chief of Staff for the Maritime Forces Atlantic Command. “These professional sailors will… contribute unique strengths of a clearance diving team and mine countermeasure search capabilities to NATO’s high readiness continuous at sea presence. Their work will bolster the assurance and deterrence measures under the NATO flag, on behalf of Canada.”
Between July and October 2022, DND said that the HMCS Kingston and Summerside will join Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One. This will be the first deployment on Operation REASSURANCE for both ships. HMCS Summerside will deploy with an embarked Royal Canadian Navy clearance diving team, supported by mine countermeasure search capabilities using autonomous underwater vehicles aboard HMCS Kingston.
“I am very proud of our team, our shipmates in HMCS Kingston and members of the Fleet Diving Unit, deploying on Operation REASSURANCE,” said Commander Jeffrey Anderson, Commanding Officer of the HMCS Summerside. “It is an honour to be part of Canada’s commitment to working with NATO allies in the region as we operate in the European region. To our families, friends, loved ones and the greater defence community: thank you for your constant support!”
“After months of preparation and training, I’m very proud of our shipmates in HMCS Summerside and Fleet Diving Unit,” added Lieutenant-Commander Jason Knowles, Commanding Officer of the HMCS Kingston. “We are ready to continue the work on Operation REASSURANCE; Canada’s commitment to working with NATO to strengthen stability and security in central and eastern Europe. We are all leaving someone at home who cares about us, to them we owe the biggest thanks as their strength enables our success.”
According to DND, sending Royal Canadian Navy ships in support of NATO objectives provides Canada with the flexibility to execute a range of exercises and operations in real training environments with international Allies. This helps support the international effort in the Baltic region, including surveillance, monitoring, and diplomatic engagement
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy. According to the release, under Operation REASSURANCE, in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures, the Canadian Armed Forces is maintaining a presence in European waters on a persistent rotational basis since 2014.
Canadian Armed Forces members are proud and honoured to serve on Operation REASSURANCE, DND stated. Their contribution further increases the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to collaborate with other NATO nations by building on the achievements of previous rotations and continuing to develop their own capabilities in working with our Allies to enhance NATO readiness.
Read more about the HMCS Kingston here.