Maritime Interdiction Force (MIF) - PREVENTION

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

Location: Arabian Gulf; Iraq

Mission Date: 3 April 1991 - 22 May 2003

Mandate: To enforce United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq

Mission 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 indicated that the 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. 

Canadian Operation:

Mission Date: 3 April 1997 - 9 July 1997

Op PREVENTION was the fourth Canadian operation in support of the MIF and the UN sanctions against Iraq. HMCS Regina began work-ups for the operation in January 1997, departing Esquimalt on 21 February as part of a Surface Action Group (SAG) with the United States Navy. A port call in Hong Kong saw the ship provide two guards of honour at two Commonwealth Cemeteries to pay respect to those who fell in the defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War. 

On 3 April, HMCS Regina officially came under the operational command of the United States Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf. The SAG transited the Straits of Hormuz on the 6th, coming alongside Manama, Bahrain the next day. Unfortunately, because of terrorist threats against United States military personnel, there was no shore leave. Departing Manama on the 12th for her northern patrol area, Regina quickly integrated herself into a patrol system that included American and Dutch warships. While Regina’s boarding party checked the cargo on some larger merchant vessels, most of the inspected vessels were small cargo dhows of around 250 to 500 tons. 

The first patrol ended with a port visit to Port Rashid, Dubai on 22 April. The crew enjoyed an excellent run ashore before departing for the patrol area on the 26th. On this patrol one previous sanctions violator, the MV Qabas II, was caught by Regina. This second patrol ended with a Port call to Kuwait City on 6 May and a reception in support of the Canadian Embassy. The third patrol commenced on 10 May and was marked by seven boardings in one day (11 May). With a Toronto Star journalist embarked for patrols two and three, these boardings and the detection and detention of two embargo violators received international publicity, as well as providing a big boast to the ship’s morale. After this flurry of activity, the ship’s crew enjoyed a 10-day rest and maintenance period in Dubai, starting on the 19th. Regina departed Dubai on the 29th bound for a new patrol area, the eastern sector of the Gulf. This was a quiet area, and only one boarding was conducted. The fourth patrol concluded with a visit to Abu Dhabi on 6 June. Here, the Canadian ship served as a goodwill ambassador, playing host to a reception held by the Canadian Ambassador. 

With the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, Rear-Admiral R.D. Moore, and Commander Maritime Operations Group Two, Captain (N) R.G. Allen, embarked, Regina departed on her fifth patrol on 10 June. Over the next eight days, 11 ships were boarded, before returning to Dubai on the 19th. The sixth and last patrol started on 23 June, ending on the 30th, this time in the familiar waters of the northern Gulf. During this time a further nine boardings were undertaken. 

Regina’s Sea King was a key part of the ship’s equipment, extending the range of her sensors, while also conducting medical evacuations (medevacs), helicopter replenishments and personnel transfers. Perhaps of greater importance, the Sea King could check out vessels and advice Regina’s boarding party of any unusual or suspicious behaviour, including the possibility of weapons being deployed. After four months of hard flying, serviceability became an issue, and the aircrew twice had to declare in-flight emergencies on the final patrol. 

After transiting the Straits of Hormuz on 2 July and a port visit to Muscat, Oman, Regina officially departed the operations area on 9 July. Making several port calls in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii on the way home, Regina returned to Esquimalt on 20 August. She had conducted a total of 57 boardings, compared to the cumulative 63 of her three SAG compatriots. She had also played host for several goodwill receptions and been the first Canadian warship to visit Muscat and the first in Fremantle, Australia since 1945.


Description: HMCS Regina in Arabian Gulf.

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