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Esquimalt-based HMCS Winnipeg sails to NATO mission in Europe

HMCS Winnipeg sets off this morning from Esquimalt to contribute to the NATO-led Operation Reassurance in central and eastern Europe. The multi-purpose warship with modern sensors and weapons systems was scheduled to leave at 8:40 a.m.
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HMCS Winnipeg is docked at CFB Esquimalt along with other warships in this 2013 photo. The base's two jetties are being replaced with larger ones.

HMCS Winnipeg sets off this morning from Esquimalt to contribute to the NATO-led Operation Reassurance in central and eastern Europe.

The multi-purpose warship with modern sensors and weapons systems was scheduled to leave at 8:40 a.m. for eastern Europe to help counter the Russian-backed unrest in Ukraine.

The warship is expected to sail past Clover Point off Dallas Road in Victoria at 10:30 a.m. The navy is encouraging the public to gather and wave goodbye.

On the way, HMCS Winnipeg will take part in Operation CARIBBE for about three weeks, a multinational drug trafficking effort to combat organized crime in the Caribbean sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.

The warship can contribute to a range of missions while in central and eastern Europe, including surveillance and monitoring, regional defence, diplomatic engagement, and capacity-building, the navy says.

HMCS Winnipeg will replace HMCS Fredericton, which has been part of the mission since January.

charnett@timescolonist.com