Maritime Interdiction Force (MIF) - FLAG

International Information

International Operation Name: Maritime Interdiction Force

International Mission Name: Maritime Interdiction Force

Mandating Organization: 
United Nations Security Council resolution 661, 6 August 1990 (Chapter VII)
United Nations Security Council resolution 687, 3 April 1991 (Chapter VII)
United Nations Security Council resolution 1483, 22 May 2003

Region Name: Middle East

Mission Date: 4 April 1991 - 22 May 2003

Mission Mandate: To enforce United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq and assist the Department of External Affairs in reestablishing a Canadian diplomatic presence in the region.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (FLAG)

Start Date: 22 April 1991

Finish Date: 27 June 1991

Mission/Operation Notes: On 6 August 1990, the United Nations Security Council placed economic sanctions on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait (resolution 661/1990). At the end of the Gulf War, the Security Council passed resolution 686, calling upon Iraq to comply with provisions concerning the treatment of hostages, prisoners of war and other measures. This was followed by Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991, which affirmed that a full trade embargo would remain in place pending periodic reviews every 60 days of Iraqi compliance with the terms of the resolution. The embargo against Iraq was cancelled by Security Council resolution 1483, 22 May 2003 after the American-led invasion of Iraq.

Canada had participated in the embargo of Iraq initiated by Security Council Resolution 661. HMCS Huron departed Esquimalt for the Persian Gulf on 4 January 1991, in company with HMCS Provider. Huron was going to relieve the crew of HMCS Athabaskan, which had been in the Gulf since September 1990. Stopping in Halifax, Huron received the same weapons, sensors and communications equipment as her sister ship. On 23 February, the day before Huron was set to sail from Halifax, the coalition forces commenced their ground attack upon Iraq. Before Huron’s arrival in Gibraltar, the war was over and for a time her role in the region was doubt. Finally, the Canadian government agreed that Huron should assist in the enforcement of the UN embargo against Iraq and she set sail from Gibraltar on 2 April stopping en-route for required maintenance and stores. The code name of the operation, until then known as FRICTION II, was changed to Operation FLAG.

HMCS Huron arrived in the Gulf on 22 April, stopping first at Manamah, Bahrain and then at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she hosted the Honourable Michael Wilson, Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, and Canada’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Mr. Lawrence T. Dickenson. Having completed her diplomatic duties, Huron carried out her first patrols from 8 to 19 May. During this period, she also acted as plane guard for the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Huron’s main role was to hail merchant ships heading towards Kuwait and Iraq, determine their next and last port of call, and gather information on the cargo. Any suspicious vessels would be diverted for inspection.

After spending three days in Dubai, Huron proceeded on her second patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz. From 6 to 18 June, Huron hosted the second Maritime Commanders’ Conference (of coalition naval commanders) and conducted an extensive maintenance program. 

Arriving in the approaches to Kuwait on 20 June, the ship had to enter a channel that was swept of mines to “95 percent” reliability. In Kuwait, the Canadians could see the destruction inflicted on the city by the Iraqi occupation forces, and also the “Highway to Hell” of burned out vehicles used by the fleeing Iraqi forces. Huron also provided her galley and showers to the engineers of the Op RECORD contingent, who did not yet have proper facilities of their own. 

Huron left Kuwait on 22 June, arriving in Dubai on 24 June. She left Dubai on 27 June, heading back for Esquimalt and completing her circumnavigation of the globe.


Description: HMCS Huron entering near jetty.

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