Publication date: 21 February 2013
By: Lt(N) Mitchell Dingwell
Gulf of Aqaba – Shalom. Not a common greeting onboard HMC Ships. Recently however, five Canadian sailors from HMCS Toronto were afforded the opportunity to conduct a short exchange with counterparts from the Israeli Navy onboard INS Kidon during EX GOLD STAR.
Toronto sent five sailors to Kidon while Kidon sent seven sailors to Toronto. These exchanges are a very important way for navies to interact with one another. It gives excellent insight into the operating procedures of allies so that when they are called on to work together in an operational capacity, they are aware of what is happening on the other vessel and they know what to expect.
Sub-Lieutenant Drew MacLeod was one of the lucky sailors selected to travel to Kidon. “It is really amazing to see how much really transcends cultures,” he said about his experience. “The language of warfare is quite international. It was also nice to have the opportunity to have lunch with them and get a taste of Israel.”
While the sailors were conducting their exchange, both ships, along with an Israeli patrol boat, conducted a search and rescue exercise (SAREX). During the exercise, the ships tracked a “stricken” patrol vessel before evacuating mock casualties to Toronto for triage and treatment by members from both navies.
While conducting the SAREX, both Toronto and Kidon took the opportunity to conduct maneuvering serials with each other. It is vitally important that vessels working together be comfortable maneuvering in close proximity to one another, especially since many of these situations arise in less than ideal weather conditions.
“It was an exceptional opportunity to work with our friends in the Israeli Navy, sharing ideas and medical procedures that can benefit both countries,” said Commander David Patchell, HMCS Toronto’s Commanding Officer, about the opportunity to operate with the Israeli Navy. “These types of exercises clearly demonstrate Canada’s capacity and willingness to operate with our friends. The Israeli Navy was extremely professional and welcoming in working with Toronto. In an ever-changing and dynamic security environment, it is vital that we are capable of working side by side with our allies from around the world.”
Toronto is currently deployed on Operation ARTEMIS, Canada’s contribution to Combined Task Force 150, combating terrorism in the Arabian Sea. Toronto’s task will be to detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity by patrolling and conducting maritime security operations in her area of responsibility.
Her presence in the Arabian Sea gives Canada the flexibility and capability to respond quickly to emerging crises in the region if required. This mission demonstrates Canada’s solidarity with our partners and allies as we continue to work together in the region.