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Canadian Ship to Join Campaign Against Terrorism in Arabian Gulf

DND/CF News Release

NR-05.019 - March 9, 2005

OTTAWA - The Halifax-class patrol frigate HMCS Winnipeg is preparing to deploy in early spring for a period of six months to the Arabian Gulf region to operate with the 5th Fleet of the United States Navy in the continuing campaign against terrorism known as Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The Canadian Forces participation in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM is named Operation ALTAIR.

With her crew of about 225 officers and sailors, and her CH-124 Sea King helicopter detachment, HMCS Winnipeg will conduct surveillance patrols and maritime interdiction operations in order to control sea-based activity in the region.

"The deployment of HMCS Winnipeg demonstrates our continued commitment to fighting international terrorism and making the Arabian Gulf region safe and secure," said Defence Minister Bill Graham.

"HMCS Winnipeg will again make an important contribution in the campaign against terrorism," said General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff. "Her crew is experienced and well prepared to meet the challenges of this deployment."

HMCS Winnipeg is deploying to the Arabian Gulf for the third time in four years. From March to September 2001, she was integrated into the USS Constellation Carrier Battle Group, and from September 2002 to May 2003, on Operation APOLLO, she sailed with the U.S.-led coalition fleet, engaged in force protection and maritime interdiction operations. During the latter deployment, Winnipeg hailed nearly 1,900 ships, of which 136 were boarded for closer inspection.

HMCS Winnipeg is the second Canadian ship to deploy on Operation ALTAIR. HMCS Toronto was in the Arabian Gulf region from January to July 2004.

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