In keeping with tradition, the City of Nanaimo last week accepted the ship’s bell from HMCS Nanaimo for safekeeping as the naval vessel goes into dry dock for scheduled maintenance.
Royal Canadian Navy tradition dictates that a ship’s bell be returned to the ship’s namesake city when the ship goes into dry dock.
“The safeguarding of the ship’s bell at the city is symbolic of the trust and the strong relationship and support between the city and the HMCS Nanaimo,” said Jason Bergen, former commander of HMCS Nanaimo.
A Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy, it was commissioned in 1997 and has provided coastal defence and participated in search and rescue operations, as well as protection during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The vessel has seen duty from Canada’s Arctic to the Galapagos Islands.
Currently in Esquimalt Harbour, she is expected to undergo her refit at Point Hope shipyard starting in mid-November.
Traditionally, a ship’s bell was used to mark the passing of time during a crew’s four-hour shift. Since time in the early days was kept with a half-hour hourglass, the bell would be rung incrementally every half hour. At the end of four hours, eight bells would sound out, signalling a shift change.
“Eight bells and all’s well” would mark the end of an uneventful shift.
HMCS Nanaimo is scheduled to return to Esquimalt Harbour in the spring of 2022, when the bell will be returned.