The HMCS Nanaimo sails past the Fisgard Lighthouse upon it’s return to Victoria following a two-month deployment in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canadian Forces recalls vessels from mission early amid COVID-19 fears

HMCS Nanaimo and Whitehorse return to CFB Esquimalt mid-April

At least two Canadian Armed Forces deployments shipped out of CFB Esquimalt are being called home early to limit the risks of COVID-19 exposure.

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse were both on operation CARIBBE, a mission with the United States that targets trafficking by organized crime in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. They were originally scheduled to return mid-May, but have been recalled to return in early April. Each ship carries approximately 35 personnel.

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“The spread of COVID-19 worldwide is impacting our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations across all regions,” reads an online statement from the Canadian Armed Forces. “With over 2,000 personnel deployed on approximately 20 different missions, the CAF is taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and well-being of our members, prevent the spread of this disease, and preserve our ability to conduct mission-essential military operations”

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As well as cancelling these and several other missions nationally, the CAF has restricted all international travel by commercial air and stopped deployed personnel from participating in training activities, exercises, events or public gatherings. Some members of the CAF are already self-isolating if they’ve travelled recently or feel that hey were exposed to someone with COVID-19.

As of March 21 no CAF personnel on deployed operations have tested positive for COVID-19.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

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