‘Big significance’ to HMCS Montréal’s Indo-Pacific deployment

HMCS Montréal will be deployed to the Indo-Pacific region under the banner of Operation Horizon. MONA GHIZ

‘Big significance’ to HMCS Montréal’s Indo-Pacific deployment

By Nathan Stone,
Trident Staff

Loved ones said goodbye during a departure ceremony on April 14. PTE BRENDAN GAMACHE

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Montréal recently left its home port of Halifax to cross the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans on a 6-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region as part of Operation Horizon.

The purpose of the mission is to strengthen Canada’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific region. While on deployment HMCS Montréal will participate in international naval exercises with allies and regional partners. 

HMCS Montréal sailed to the region in 2023 under Op Projection, and is now returning to the area, with a refreshed crew and command team, as the first ship to take part in Op Horizon, a mission that focuses solely on the Indo-Pacific.

“There’s a big significance there, it’s an indication that Canada is placing a great importance on the Indo-Pacific region,” says Montréal’s Commander Officer, Commander (Cdr) Travis Bain. 

“The fact that [Canada] is sending more ships there more regularly and increasing our presence is an indication that we’re concerned about the area, and we want to demonstrate that we’re a reliable partner that can participate with our allies.”

While deployed, Cdr Bain says Montréal will join ships from NATO allies and regional partners Japan, Korea and The Philippines for joint exercises with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in the region.

Cdr Bain says sending a ship from the Atlantic Fleet to the Indo-Pacific is important aspect of Canada’s efforts to increase its presence in the region.

“It’s a demonstration that Canada is a capable nation that is able to project from either the east coast or west coast to anywhere in the world.”

Preparations for the departure and the mission had been underway for months, with plenty of training and sea trials since HMCS Montréal swapped crews last October. Cdr Bain describes the workups process as “Probably one of the busiest programs I’ve ever done.”

Sailing for his first major deployment is Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Aidan Nicol, Montréal’s new diving officer. He’s been working to make sure the ship’s dive team is ready for the mission while also completing his own training packages. He says he didn’t have any preconceptions on what the preparations for deployment would be like.

“I didn’t know what to expect, so I came in with an open mind.”

SLt Nicol echoed Cdr Bain’s thoughts on the fast pace of work going on to prepare the ship. 

“It’s been busy – very busy.”

With the departure now behind him, SLt Nicol is excited to sail and to explore the ports that Montréal will visit over the coming months. 

Also looking forward to visiting new locales is his shipmate, Sailor 1st Class (S1) Ran Bryshun. She was posted to Montréal last fall, and said she was both excited and anxious to set sail. She deployed two years ago with HMCS Goose Bay and is now getting her first experiences aboard a Halifax-class frigate.

S1 Bryshun added that integrating with her new shipmates has also been a positive process.

“It’s been great, there’s a lot of women on this ship; it’s the most women I’ve sailed with and we’re all around the same age, so we all became really good friends.”

The sailors aboard HMCS Montréal will be accompanied by an air detachment and a CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter, bringing the total crew complement for the deployment to 247. The ship is expected to return to Halifax in mid-October.