OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/27/13 -- Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa, recently departed Esquimalt, B.C., for the eastern Pacific Ocean to support Operation Caribbe, Canada's contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Americas and the Caribbean.
The Halifax-class frigate, with a crew of approximately 220 personnel, will work with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and other regional partners in a support role to locate and track vessels of interest.
"Our forces have established long-standing relationships and enhanced cooperation and interoperability with our allies and partners in the region," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minster of National Defence. "HMCS Ottawa will work with her partners to deter and deny transnational organized crime from using merchant shipping lanes for smuggling illicit cargo."
"Canada has steadfast, growing relationships with the people and nations of the Caribbean and Central America," said the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs). "We are committed to building on those ties by sharing expertise and pooling our resources to tackle common threats such as international drug smuggling. By working together, we are achieving greater security and prosperity for our hemisphere."
HMCS Ottawa's departure marks the start of Canada's 2013/2014 commitment to Operation Martillo - a multinational, joint, combined, and interagency effort led by the Joint Interagency Task Force South, involving Western Hemisphere and European nations in the Caribbean basin, Eastern Pacific, and littoral waters of Central America.
"Canada has deployed ships, Sea King helicopters, and Aurora aircraft on Operation Caribbe, the Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to Joint Interagency Task Force South operations, since 2006," said Rear-Admiral Peter Ellis, Deputy Commander Expeditionary, Canadian Joint Operations Command. "This mission continues our strong tradition of making meaningful contributions to continental security."
Transnational criminal organizations use the Caribbean basin, Central America, and the Eastern Pacific as a transshipment area for the illicit traffic of drugs, weapons, money, and people. Illicit trafficking is a significant source of revenue for organized crime, which is a growing threat to North American, Canadian, and international security.
Throughout 2013/2014, the Royal Canadian Navy will deploy a periodic rotation of warships from both east and west coasts while the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will provide CP-140 Aurora aircraft from RCAF long-range patrol squadrons, all in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South operations.
Operation Caribbe is one of the many activities undertaken by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as part of Canada's broad focus on ongoing engagement in the Americas and the Caribbean. This annual operation directly supports the CAF's mission to defend against threats and security challenges to Canada, North America, and our defence and security partners.
Notes to editor / news director:
For more information on Operation Caribbe: http://www.cjoc.forces.gc.ca/cont/caribbe/index-eng.asp
For more information on Operation Martillo: http://www.southcom.mil/newsroom/Pages/Operation-Martillo.aspx
For imagery to Op Caribbe's past operations: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cfoperations/sets/72157631787773407
Information: 1-866-377-0811 / (613) 996-2353
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