Op Caribbe 2013

Crowsnest - Spring 2014 / April 23, 2014

Significant achievements in combating transnational organized crime

Operation Caribbe was a success story in 2013, and there is every expectation that this year will be no different.

Last year the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) made significant achievements combating transnational organized crime off the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Central America, directly contributing to the seizure of more than 5,000 kilograms of cocaine and the disruption of international drug trafficking.

As part of Op Caribbe 2013, the CAF contributed seven ships, four CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft and a submarine. Four ships and three aircraft deployed to the Western Caribbean Sea at various times throughout the year, and the remaining assets focused on the Eastern Pacific Ocean near Central America.

While deployed, CAF air and naval assets patrolled international waters in an effort to locate, track, approach and potentially intercept suspicious vessels in order to allow U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (USCG LEDET) personnel to board and conduct law enforcement operations. CP-140 Aurora aircraft played a crucial role in the operation, providing surveillance and detection that guided both Canadian and international partners’ ships to suspect vessels.

The use of Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine Victoria was also “a significant achievement that successfully integrated its inherent stealth capabilities into a multinational operation,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). “Through participation on Operation Caribbe, Victoria and her crew demonstrated the unique contribution that submarines bring to today’s complex maritime environment.”

Last year was one of the most successful in terms of the total amount of illicit drugs seized and traffic disrupted since Canada began Op Caribbe missions in November 2006. Over the years Op Caribbe has helped strengthen international partnerships and build partnership capacity.

Ongoing support in 2014

 The CAF is continuing its support of Op Caribbe this year. In February, HMC Ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse set sail from Esquimalt, B.C., for the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and Kingston and Glace Bay departed Halifax for the Caribbean Sea. All four are multi-role minor war vessels with a primary mission of coastal surveillance and patrol, including general naval operations and exercises, search and rescue, law enforcement, resource protection and fisheries patrols. On March 15, Glace Bay, in cooperation with her embarked USCG LEDET, recovered 97 bales of cocaine during a patrol in the Caribbean Basin. “It’s the persistence, dedication and ongoing collaboration with our partners that enabled the ship’s company of HMCS Glace Bay to successfully assist in seizing illegal narcotics on this operation,” said Lieutenant-Commander Victoria DeVita, commanding officer of Glace Bay. Over the course of the year the RCN will periodically deploy warships from both the East and West Coasts, while the Royal Canadian Air Force will provide CP-140 Aurora aircraft from various long-range patrol squadrons. One CP-140 Aurora aircraft has already contributed to Op Caribbe 2014, completing a deployment this past January.