There was a mix of emotions in the air as dozens of families gathered at the Halifax Harbour to wish their loved ones farewell on Saturday.
Two Halifax-based naval vessels are now on their way to Africa for a four-month deployment as part of Operation PROJECTION.
HMCS Glace Bay and HMCS Shawinigan, both Kingston-class coastal defence vessels, will take part in a pair of exercises, Obangame Express and Phoenix Express, working to strengthen relationships with allies and connect with communities in Africa.
“Today we have two ships sailing to Africa to do capacity building, work with our allies, participate in two major exercises to improve their capacity and their own working,” said Richard Feltham, Commander of Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.
Lt.-Commander Owen Smith, commanding officer of HMCS Glace Bay, said he expects the trip to provide his crew with a learning experience.
“I think travel is education,” he told media on Saturday.
“When we see parts of the world that we as Canadians don’t normally get a chance to visit I think it gives us a better understanding of how other people in the world are living and what our responsibilities are as global citizens.”
Some sights and sounds from the departure ceremony of HMCS Glace Bay and Shawinigan. Fun fact, my brother is a sailor on the Shawinigan. Fair winds and following seas, Danny! pic.twitter.com/t8FYyZ1nJy— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) January 25, 2020
“The ships are well prepared and very capable for this kind of mission,” said Lt.-Commander Matthew Mitchell.
It’s the second time that HMCS Shawinigan has deployed to the region and the first for HMCS Glace Bay.
HMCS Shawinigan and HMCS Glace Bay are slated to return to Halifax this spring.