FEATURED ARTICLE

FRONTLINE DEFENCE 2015:

CAF successfully concludes Operation CARIBBE 15

18 December 2015

The last Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) assets assigned to OP CARIBBE in 2015, HMC Ships Brandon and Whitehorse arrived home yesterday, concluding a very successful year as part of Canadian joint operational deployments.

Canada’s 2015 annual contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean – Operation MARTILLO – saw CAF assets and personnel directly contribute to the seizure or disruption of approximately 18.5 metric tons of cocaine and 3 metric tons of marijuana, more than any other year since the CAF’s contribution began in 2006.

“I have seen the terrible damage inflicted onto Canadian cities and citizens caused by organized crime and their business in drug trafficking," said Defence Minister Sajjan. "This year’s record success on Operation CARIBBE is a testament to the Canadian Armed Forces and particularly the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s dedication and perseverance to work with our allies in complex environments for the safety and security of the citizens of this continent.”

As part of Operation CARIBBE 2015, the CAF contributed four CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft, five Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (HMC Ships BrandonGoose BayNanaimoShawinigan and Whitehorse), two Halifax-class frigates with their embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter (HMCS Winnipeg and Vancouver), and one Iroquois-class destroyer (HMCS Athabaskan) with its two embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopters.

Royal Canadian Navy ships deployed a total of 10 times (HMC Ships Whitehorse and Winnipeg deployed twice each) and sailed for a total of 344 days.

"The tremendous success of Operation CARIBBE is testament to the hard work of all organizations involved, especially our US Coast Guard partners," said Rear Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific. "A great example of this hard work is that our ships, HMCS Brandon and Whitehorse, seized more drugs in two months, from October to December of this year, than were seized by all Canadian Armed Forces assets on Op CARIBBE in 2014. As we approach the end of this record-breaking year for illicit narcotics interception and look to next year, the Royal Canadian Navy will remain committed to excellence at sea as we continue to do great work alongside our closest allies."

Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Auroras flew 321 hours, and CH-124 Sea Kings flew 150 hours, providing important surveillance, detection, and disruption capabilities during the operation.

HMC Ships Brandon and Whitehorse seized and disrupted more narcotics during a 44-day deployment this fall than any other duo of Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels during the Operation’s history, with a combined total of approximately 9 800 kg. The previous record of 5934 kg was held by HMC Ships Whitehorse and Nanaimo, obtained earlier this year while deployed in the Eastern Pacific.

Operation CARIBBE is one of the many activities undertaken by the Government of Canada and DND/CAF as part of Canada's broader commitment to engagement in the Americas. This annual operation directly supports the CAF's mission to defend against threats and security challenges to Canada, North America, and our defence and security partners.

The Canadian Armed Forces have conducted Operation CARIBBE since November 2006 and remain committed to working with Western Hemisphere and European partners to address security challenges in the region and successfully disrupt illicit trafficking operations.