Defence Team News Interview with Commander Kevin Whiteside, Commanding Officer, HMCS Vancouver, on Op NEON

Video / November 02, 2022


Genevieve Germano: Today we're speaking with Commander Kevin Whiteside, HMCS Vancouver Commanding Officer, who is here to tell us about the ship's six-month deployment and their conduct of Operation NEON: Canada's effort to support the implementation of the UN Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea.

Thanks for joining us today, Sir. Can you tell us a little bit about Operation NEON, as well as HMCS Vancouver's role?

Cdr Whiteside: Thanks so much for the question, Gen. Operation NEON is quite an exciting operation. It's a multinational effort supporting the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea. Vancouver's contribution to this is mostly presence operations and surveillance operations in the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

Genevieve Germano: How does the ship carry out surveillance and what are you looking for when surveilling?

Cdr Whiteside: So the team operates transiting through the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea on Operation NEON. Really looking for vessels that may be operating apart from the norm. Normal operations on the high seas is transiting kind of from point A to point B, and some of these vessels that are supporting illegal acts in support of North Korea, often you can find them operating very close to each other. Ship to ship transfers is a term that is often used. That is a legal thing to do on the high seas. But sometimes there will be indicators that perhaps it's not a legitimate act that's being conducted. Changing the name of a vessel, erroneous information on their Automatic Identification System… All these types of things we can pick up, not only via our visual means, which we can see on the bridge or using our helicopter to get further range. But also our sensors: We can see if somebody is perhaps showing one name on their Automatic Identification System, but the picture relates to a completely different vessel altogether.

Genevieve Germano: How does HMCS Vancouver's conduct of Operation NEON demonstrate Canada's commitment to upholding international security?

Cdr Whiteside: As with all the Operations that we've done on Operation PROJECTION, which for HMCS Vancouver has included Operation Neon, it's really just working with like-minded partners who are all committed to free and open Indo-Pacific region. Transiting in the different areas, presence operations, and just being there, communicating with other like-minded partners is part of it all.

Genevieve: And is there anything else you'd like to add?

Cdr Whiteside: Well since I am in front of a camera, Gen, and you've asked me that question, I would just like to say that nothing that we do as members of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces… Nothing that we do overseas can be accomplished without the love and support of our families and loved ones back home. And the incredible Canadians who support us every day on operations. While we're in the final month of this six-month Operation, and everyone is excited to get back home, this team is incredibly proud of everything that we've been able to accomplish since departing home on the fourteenth of June.

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