Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Canadian Navy returns to Arctic after a long absence

Amid increasing competition for control of Arctic sea routes, the Canadian Navy has re-entered the region after a decades-long absence with a versatile new class of vessel that will equally be at home in frozen north or tropical seas. is on.

HMCS Harry DeWolf It recently became the first Royal Canadian Navy ship in 60 years to sail through the Northwest Passage, part of a rarefied waterway in North America that would later use it in anti-narcotics operations through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean Sea. took to participate.

Canada’s Coast Guard has long been active in the High Arctic, solidifying the country’s claim to sovereignty over a waterway that became a graveyard for at least one 19th-century explorer. But with climate change sparking renewed interest in potential Arctic trade routes, Canada’s navy is expanding its role.

Charles Burton, an expert at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, said: “Canada has long paid lip service to the importance of Canadian Arctic sovereignty, but the defense of the Arctic has been a low priority for Canadian military expenditure. “

“With China now increasingly strategic interest in the region and year-round opening of shipping lanes due to global warming, Canada is waking up to the need for resources to support and sustain cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries. Claim your northern territory.”

FILE – Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica sails through floating sea ice over the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on July 21, 2017.

Canada’s claim to sovereignty over the Northwest Passage has in fact been challenged by the United States, which argues that it and a similar Arctic Sea Passage over Russia should be considered international waters.

But the dispute has not hindered cooperation between North American neighbors. A US officer, Navy Lieutenant JG Kyle Luchau, was on board. Harry DeWolf A Canadian military spokesman described the VOA as a “special… but not a rare event” for its historic visit.

Luchau’s role during the four-month journey, said spokesman Mark Gough, was “sharing information, sharing ideas, taking perspectives.”

Harry DeWolf, launched in mid-2020, is the first of six Canadian ships of the same name. Despite its length—103 metres, it is the largest Canadian warship to be launched in more than 50 years—making it smaller than many American icebreakers.

“It appears that Canada and the US have taken different paths with respect to Arctic shipbuilding,” said Professor Adam Lajenesse from St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. “While the US focuses on large, heavy icebreakers, Canada has chosen stronger patrol vessels over lighter ice.”

Lajenesse said Canadian ships are “far less capable in the heavy Arctic ice” but they are “cheaper and easier to build – which means there will be more of them.”

“The US construction program is based on a broader set of responsibilities. Eventually, the US also needs to reach Antarctica, and a patrol ship will not do that. In the long term, however, there will be more and more activities in the north that need to be monitored and Needs to be polished,” Lajenesse told VOA.

“Chinese fishing fleets, foreign commercial vessels, cruise ships, and other safety, security, and defense threats will increase… Over time, the US will adjust its own manufacturing schedules to place a greater emphasis on quantity over quality than breaking the ice. might want to.”

Harry DeWolf It began its voyage around North America in August, moving north from its home port in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in waters near Greenland, where it engaged in joint exercises with US icebreakers in an exercise called Operation Nanuk. Was.

VOA reporter Jay Heisler is given a tour of Harry DeWolf upon its delivery in 2020,

VOA reporter Jay Heisler is given a tour of Harry DeWolf upon its delivery in 2020,

After an east-to-west crossing through the Northwest Passage, it entered the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and followed the Pacific coastline south of the Panama Canal.

Upon entering the Caribbean, the ship demonstrated her versatility by participating in an entirely different type of mission – working with the US military to deter drug-smuggling ships that the Canadians called Operation Caribe.

Canadian military spokesman Gough said, of harry dewolf The role was to patrol tropical waters with US Coast Guard personnel. When a suspected drug smuggling vessel is intercepted, Americans will search aboard aboard.

Without such raids, Gough said, the confiscated dangerous narcotics “would certainly end up on the streets of Canada.”

Harry DeWolf Returned to Halifax in mid-December, completing his journey around the continent. Military sources have told the VOA that the ship will soon be heading south for another deployment as part of Operation Caribe, but this time without Commander Corey Gleason, who guided it through its waterway.

Gleason, who told the VOA he is “the longest-serving commanding officer in the Royal Canadian Navy,” is due to step down this month. He said he would hold a senior position in the Navy’s Maritime Training Unit where he would become “a mentor” to future Arctic and offshore patrol ship captains.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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