Home to more than a dozen war ships, submarines, training and patrol vessels; 6,000 personnel (4,000 military, 2,000 civilian); and one of the largest enclosed buildings on the West Coast of North America (the 28,000 square-metre Fleet Maintenance Facility), Maritime Forces Pacific and the Esquimalt Naval Base continue to guard Canada’s Pacific maritime approaches, contribute forces to national and overseas operations and provide leadership for Canada’s naval training requirements … all while paying attention to a changing environment, expanded global trade, and the opening of a new maritime frontier (the Arctic). It is within this context that Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force (Pacific) addressed delegates at the recent Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) Conference this past September.
The big picture
“Canada is first and foremost a maritime nation,” RAdm McDonald said in his keynote address to ACPA, noting that Canada is the 11th largest exporter and 10th largest importer in the world with more than $200 billion of goods transported by sea each year. “With great enthusiasm, I suggest that this is a new oceanic age. Not since the great era of exploration in the 16th century have oceans played such an important role in global affairs as they do today.” And while the elements of this new oceanic era are continually evolving, driven by a host of interconnected factors, RAdm McDonald highlighted the efforts of “like-minded” nations to ensure the unimpeded flow of maritime commerce.
Photo above: A CH-124 Sea King helicopter lands on the deck of HMCS Charlottetown in the Atlantic Ocean during Operation REASSURANCE this past summer. (Photo: Cpl J.W.S. Houck, Formation Imaging Services)
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