Navy Heads North to Expand SAR
Sep 15, 2005


The capacity to effectively carry out Search and Rescue operations is a significant asset that the Canadian Forces work diligently to maintain. In an effort to sharpen skills in the challenging northern environment, the Navy recently conducted a SAREX with the Canadian Coast Guard in Cape Dorset, Nunavut as part of the month-long Northern Deployment Operation HUDSON SENTINEL.

Aug 2005 – Hudson Bay – Thanks to crew members of 440 Sqn in their Twin Otter aircraft, we can enjoy this arial view of HMCS Glace Bay and Shawinigan. (​Photo: Cpl Halina Folfas, Formation Imaging Services, Hfx, NS.)

This Operation is the latest naval deployment to Canada’s North to further develop performance capabilities in remote areas of Canada; employing ships, Air Force assets and Ranger patrol groups, it is also the first joint operation conducted by the newly formed Joint Task Force Atlantic. 

On 6 August, the two Kingston-Class ships, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Glace Bay and Shawinigan departed Halifax for what Capt(N) Larry Hickey, Commander of the 5th Maritime Opera­tions Group, promised would be not only a valuable deployment, but also exciting for the ship’s companies. The operation built on experiences gained from similar deployments by ships in previous years and was a naval training exercise aimed not only at enhancing skills but also increasing the Navy’s presence in the North. Of note, many of the scheduled activities were executed in cooperation with other federal departments, further paving the way for future combined operations in the North. 

Over the course of the deployment, the ships, operating with CC-138 Twin Otter Transport aircraft and a CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol aircraft, had several port visits scheduled in northern Quebec communities including Killiniq Island, Kuujuaq, Ivujuviq and Pivurnituq, as well as Arviat, Rankin Inlet, and Coral Harbour, Nunavut, among others. The crossing of Hudson Bay featured a return to Churchill by the Navy for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The SAREX that took place along the southern shores of Baffin Island was the final major event of the deployment and brought together the skills of the Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard, members of the First Canadian Ranger Patrol Group and local detachments of the RCMP in a challenging scenario involving sea and ground searches, the combination of which tested communication skills and interoperability between the various participants. 

Op HUDSON SENTINEL is a strong example of Canada’s increasing naval capabilities in the North, and as the Canadian Forces continue to engage in similar missions, each deployment will further cement their commitment to an ever-changing arctic environment. 

Lt Kendrah Denny and LCdr Mulkins are with the Directorate of Naval Communications.