Going aboard HMCS Winnipeg is almost like stepping into another world, at least for those less versed in naval operations.
The labyrinth of small corridors and offices doubling as bedrooms can make outsiders feel claustrophobic but for the 250 naval personnel on board, it’s the merging of home — at least for six months when deployed — and work.
Navy Lt. Tristan Robertson agreed to show Black Press Media around the vessel as it was being prepared for the Defence on the Dock event coming up on Sept. 15 at Ogden Point.
The public will have the chance to tour the same ship and to see helicopters, military bands and vehicles, along with the chance to win a tour of a submarine. You can even get a ride on a RIB Boat (rigid inflatable boat), which can go up to 70 kilometres per hour.
While touring HMCS Winnipeg, you’ll notice a reoccurring theme. The ship’s crest is a bison, there’s even a big bison head hanging in the main hangar and one painted on the ship’s main gun, which is based off the original painting on the WWII HMCS Winnipeg.
The ship is one of 12 Halifax-class frigate vessels, each named after a major city in Canada, including HMSC Calgary, HMCS Ottawa, HMCS Toronto and the HMCS Regina, a ship that recently made headlines after returning home from a six-month deployment in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
Frigates are smaller warships with strong self-defence capabilities, specializing in anti-submarine warfare, which Robertson says Canada is pretty good at. Using sensors on the ship, the vessel is able to detect enemy submarines while using other countermeasures that can either defend against a submarine attack or can attack a submarine if needed.
Robertson breaks it down by saying basically the frigates will be the ones hunting out submarines to stop them from getting to the “high valued assets.”
While Robertson has never had to use any of those capabilities in combat, he and the other naval personnel are well-practised. Crews attended RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercises that sees nations from across the world come together for training, held last summer in and around the Hawaiian Islands and southern California.
During the Defence on the Dock tour, visitors will be lead through the bow of the ship, working their way back on the upper deck of the ship, hitting the bridge where watchkeepers will be stationed to explain the workings of the ship. The tour continues with visitors walking by the missile and torpedo areas. Experts will be on hand to answer any questions about the ship’s capabilities or life at sea. Finally, visitors will see the hangar and flight deck where they will exit the ship.
The event gets underway at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Ogden Point.
For more information on this free event, visit bit.ly/2lWJ02f.
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