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Princess Anne to help commission new navy vessel in B.C. ceremony

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The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel for Canada’s Pacific fleet will officially be commissioned in a ceremony featuring Princess Anne, the sister of King Charles.

Princess Anne will be attending the event Friday in North Vancouver in her role as commodore-in-chief for the Canadian Fleet Pacific.

The Department of National Defence says the patrol vessel, HMCS Max Bernays, arrived in its new home port in Esquimalt last month, calling it a “pivotal milestone” in the expansion of the fleet.

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It says the introduction of the ship, named after a Canadian naval hero during the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic, will allow the navy to better meet future defence challenges in the North.

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The HMCS Max Bernays was built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and launched in Atlantic waters on October 23, 2021.

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It is the first ship in the Harry DeWolf-class attached to the Pacific Fleet, although the HMCS Robert Hampton Gray is expected to become the second such vessel to make the transfer between coasts, the Defence Department said in a statement issued last month.

“These multifunctional ships will be at the core of an enhanced Arctic presence and will strategically complement the capabilities of our current and future warships through surveillance operations,” the statement said.

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The office of B.C.’s lieutenant-governor said last week that the princess and her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, would attend a series of events during a three-day trip to B.C., starting with the commissioning ceremony for the ship in North Vancouver.

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It said that will be followed by an overnight sail to Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.

The princess’s itinerary includes a visit to the archives and collections space of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Victoria, which was founded with an initial donation by the princess’s late father, Prince Philip.

She is scheduled to attend a commemorative service marking the Battle of the Atlantic at the British Columbia legislature and lay a wreath, as well as visit the Military Family Resource Centre.

Princess Anne is also slated to meet with Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant-governor, and various community leaders from the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2024.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the ship was Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel. In fact, it is the first such vessel to join the Pacific fleet.

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