The Royal Canadian Navy gave a public relations tour of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) the Whitehorse in Prince Rupert on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
The crew invited people from the community to tour the ship from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The naval ship left the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt on Feb. 10 to patrol the B.C. coast. The crew will perform exercises to maintain operational readiness and to do some outreach in communities along the coast.
Sub-Lieutenant Justin Mullin gave tours to curious visitors who came to the Cow Bay Marina Public Breakwater Dock. This was his first visit to Prince Rupert and he was both impressed by its beauty and also jaded by the rain.
“We’re doing operations around the U.S.-Canada border whenever Canadian ships are up around this area. The Canadian navy has good relationships with Prince Rupert. It’s one of our favourite port visits on the West Coast,” Mullin said.
He stressed the importance of outreach and fostering positive community relations to make the Navy’s presence known.
“It’s nice to talk to people and tell people that we are still out there. We’re still conducting operations. We’re still an active part in the modern world,” he said.
The HMCS Whitehorse left on Wednesday, Feb.17 to sail along the U.S.-Canada border for a couple of days and planned to conduct some operations with the U.S. Coast Guard.
“It’s always good for the Canadian Navy to exercise with other navies or with the coast guard just to keep positive relations and in the event if an exercise does require both navies that we’re familiar with each others’ operating procedures,” Mullin said.
Some crew aboard the ship had taken part in Operation CARIBBE along with the U.S. Coast Guard and seized approximately 9,800 kilograms of cocaine off the coast of Central and South America in international waters. Mullin wasn’t aboard at the time.
The ship was originally intended as a mine clearance vessel but since mine warfare is as Mullin said, “a little bit out of fashion” it is now used for maritime coastal patrols.
Another feature of the ship is that it can turn on a dime. The propellers will spin on a swivel and can turn in place. There are also machine guns on board — just in case — and a dummy named Oscar that gets thrown overboard on the regular to test response time, as well as a BBQ for general morale and a gym complete with a treadmill, a rowing machine and free weights.