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HMCS Fredericton leaves Halifax on 6-month NATO mission

HMCS Fredericton left Halifax harbour on Sunday for a six-month deployment in Europe in support of NATO operations.

The ship, with 256 sailors on board, left at 2 p.m. AT to participate in Operation Reassurance.

The federal government says the Canadian Armed Force’s support of NATO helps make Central and Eastern Europe more secure and stable.

Operation Reassurance began nine years ago and has about a thousand Canadian Armed Force members deployed for its mission.

A man in a black Maritime Forces Atlantic cap speaks into a microphone.
Rear Admiral Brian Santarpia is commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic. (Paul Légère/CBC)

Speaking after the departure, Rear Admiral Brian Santarpia, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, said the ship will join other NATO ships in the Mediterranean Sea. 

He said there will be a constant presence in the Mediterranean tracking Russian activity.

Santarpia said HMCS Montreal and a supply ship will accompany HMCS Fredericton in its journey across the Atlantic.

Hundreds attended the departure ceremony, many of them family members of sailors.

A woman in a black jacket looks at the camera with a frigate in the background.
Taryn Begin left for her first deployment on HMCS Fredericton. (Paul Légère/CBC)

Taryn Begin said it is her first deployment and will be the longest she has been away from her husband and two sons.

“There’s a lot of nerves and apprehension, but one step at a time,” Begin said.

“It’s important to show what Canada is standing up for and what our values are. A ship is a really visible sign that everyone can see, that Canada can send our military to defend the values that we find important.”

Natasha Leduc said she was there to see off her partner, Kirby Bentley, who is a master sailor and marine technician.

A tearful woman in a winter jacket looks down tearfully. There is a frigate in the background.
Natasha Leduc says the experience of saying goodbye to her partner was like leaving her best friend. (Paul Légère/CBC)

A tearful Leduc said the experience was like “parting with her best friend,” but she understood that it was important for Canada to have a military presence in the region.

It’s not the first time for Leduc and she said she expected this deployment would be harder than the last.

“We’ve grown together,” Leduc said.

Two other naval ships returned to Halifax in November. They were part of the same mission supporting NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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