OPERATIONS & EXERCISES
International Operations: HMCS Ville de Québec completes mission: WFP humanitarian operation successfully supported
Credit MCpl Kevin Paul
Ordinary Seaman Marc Lacroix stands guard as the merchant ship Golina leaves Mogadishu, Somalia for Mombasa, Kenya, escorted by HMCS Ville de Québec.
HMCS Ville de Québec has completed its task of escorting ships carrying World Food Programme (WFP) food assistance in the coastal region of Somalia in response to a global request from the WFP and the International Maritime Organization, both United Nations organizations.
Beginning in August 2008, HMCS Ville de Québec provided a naval escort to 10 ships under contract to the WFP to protect them from piracy and armed robbery. Around 36,200 tonnes of food - enough to feed about 400, 000 people for six months - were successfully delivered to Somalia by ships escorted by HMCS Ville de Québec.
More than 3.2 million Somalis need food assistance, of which 90 percent arrives by sea. Although pirates have launched more than 70 attacks on vessels in Somali waters so far this year, no ship carrying WFP food assistance has been attacked while under Canadian escort. Over the past 10 months, naval escorts have also been provided by France, Denmark and the Netherlands.
"The Government of Canada was proud to respond to the request from the United Nations to provide security, while ensuring the safe arrival of critical food supplies at designated ports," said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. "By escorting World Food Programme supplies the brave men and women of our Canadian Forces continue to contribute to humanitarian efforts and international peace and stability."
"For the 253 Canadian sailors, soldiers and airmen on board, our efforts in support of the World Food Programme have been an eye-opening experience," said Commander Chris Dickinson, commanding officer of Ville de Québec. "Our success is attributable to my crew, who I believe have made a difference in this area of the world through their efforts, while being themselves changed for the better by their experiences here."
Ville de Québec will return to her initial mission, Operation SEXTANT, Canada's participation in the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) fleet in support of the NATO Response Force (NRF). She is scheduled to return to Canada in December.
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