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. for eastern Europe to help counter the Russian-backed unrest in Ukraine.

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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

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