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Canadian Navy ships aborting operations due to COVID-19 concern

Photo: Royal Canadian Navy

Two Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessels deployed to the Caribbean Sea as part of the international operation Martillo will be returning home months earlier than planned due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As disclosed by the Canadian Armed Forces, HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse will return to Esquimalt, British Columbia, in early April, after originally being scheduled to return in May.

Canada’s contribution to the US-led operation Martillo is named operation Caribbe and is aimed at combating illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ships and aircraft regularly deploy to the region on a rotational basis to support the US mission to suppress trafficking in international waters and airspace.

The withdrawal of ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse from the operation is part of the Canadian defense department’s response to the virus outbreak, which stipulates that only essential core activities, including international and domestic operations, are to be continued at this time.