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Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels Complete Deployment on Operation Caribbe

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 28, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, alongside the Canadian Armed Forces marked the conclusion of its first naval deployment of 2013, Operation Caribbe. Operation Caribbe is part of the Government's continued commitment to combat illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Basin and Eastern Pacific. As part of this commitment, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Summerside conducted a 36-day deployment while a Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft flew patrols from January 7th to 19th to help suppress trafficking in international waters.

"This deployment demonstrates to Canadians and our allies the important contributions the men and women of Canada's Naval Reserve make in ensuring our coastal waters are protected," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Canada will continue its contribution to Operation Caribbe so we can defend against all threats and security challenges to Canada, North America and its approaches."

This is the second time HMCS Kingston has deployed on Operation Caribbe. HMCS Kingston , along with HMCS Goose Bay, conducted surveillance operations in the Western Caribbean from March 2 to April 6, 2012. This deployment marks a number of achievements for the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels including the embarkation of a United States Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team and the use of the side scan sonar to search for sunken objects associated with counter narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean Basin. Primarily crewed by Naval Reservists, Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels are mainly used for coastal surveillance and patrol.

"Through our engagement in the Americas, Canada has played an instrumental role in boosting security in the hemisphere," said the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs). "By working in partnership to patrol the Caribbean, we are strengthening ties with allies in the region, confronting the scourge of transnational organized crime and helping to keep drugs away from Canadian shores."

The Canadian Armed Forces' participation in this operation is part of Canada's goal to strengthen security and institutions, a cornerstone of its foreign policy priority of deepening engagement in the Americas. In collaboration with other government departments and agencies, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces have increased its engagement in the hemisphere by participating in exercises and operations, as well as through military training and cooperation. An important part of our approach to engagement in the Americas is focused on building strategic partnerships in the region, including with the U.S. and other key partners, with whom we can work to address concerns of mutual interest.

This recurring annual operation directly supports the Canadian Armed Forces mission to defend against threats and security challenges to Canada and North America and its approaches. Moreover, Operation Caribbe helps strengthen international and continental partnerships and demonstrates Canada's specific commitment to improve security in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and to combat transnational organized crime. It also creates opportunities to partner with other nations to suppress criminal activity at sea and keep illegal drugs off Canadian streets.

Notes to editor / news director:

Information on Operation Caribbe is available at: http://www.cjoc.forces.gc.ca/cont/caribbe/index-eng.asp.