Operation CARIBBE

Operation CARIBBE is Canada's contribution to U.S.-led enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Under this operation, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ships and aircraft deploy to the region on a rotational basis to support the U.S. mission to suppress drug trafficking in international waters.

How many people are deployed?

This operation involves periodic deployments, meaning that ships and aircraft participate in it at different times during the year. The number of CAF members deployed on Operation CARIBBE has varied over time, depending on the number and size of ships and aircraft.

What are they doing?

Canada sends Royal Canadian Navy warships and crews on this mission. They work with the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Canada also occasionally sends CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The warships find and track vessels of interest. The USCG law enforcement teams then approach and intercept them. The teams then board and inspect the ship and cargo.

CP-140 Aurora aircraft and their crews detect and track vessels and aircraft of interest. They patrol in international airspace. The area covers the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

History and context of the operation

Operation CARIBBE began in November 2006. In October 2010, it expanded with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Canada. The MOU allows USCG teams to operate from Canadian warships.

Current Deployments

HMCS Margaret Brooke

On April 18, 2024, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke departed its home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a six-week Op caribbe deployment (on which it is currently sailing). During this deployment, HMCS Margaret Brooke has participated on Exercise tradewinds in Barbados throughout early May, working alongside ships form 8 other nations to strengthen interoperability in the region and participate in key maritime training. Operation caribbe and Exercise tradewinds 2024 represent crucial initiatives in combating illicit trafficking and strengthening maritime security in the region. Margaret Brooke's participation highlights Canada's commitment to international cooperation and maritime safety.

HMCS Summerside

On May 6, 2024, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Summerside departed its home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a ten-week Op caribbe deployment (on which it is currently sailing).

Past deployments – the results

The Canadian Armed Forces have conducted Operation CARIBBE since 2006 with successive deployments of Royal Canadian Navy ships and Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft.

HMCS Margaret Brooke (2024)

On January 12, 2024, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke departed its home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a six-week Op CARIBBE deployment. On February 4, 2024, after officially joining Op CARIBBE, the ship assisted with the seizure of 510 kilograms of Cocaine with an estimated Canadian street value of $16.9 million. HMCS Margaret Brooke returned to Halifax on March 9, 2024 after its deployment.

HMCS Moncton (2023)

On October 24, 2023, His Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Moncton deployed on Operation CARIBBE. During the operation, HMCS Moncton conducted boarding and maritime interdiction operations with embarked USCG Tactical Law Enforcement Team personnel, partner nation surface assets, and maritime patrol aircraft. They also assisted in an interdiction by a Dominican Republic Interceptor that seized approximately 350 kg of cocaine. On December 8, 2023, HMCS Moncton returned to its home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

HMCS Edmonton (2023)

On February 13, 2023, His Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Edmonton deployed on Operation CARIBBE. During the ship's deployment, on April 8, 2023, HMCS Edmonton in partnership with two United States Coast Guard Ships intercepted a drug smuggling vessel, seizing large quantities of narcotics off the coast of Mexico. The seized narcotics are estimated to be 755 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated Canadian street value of $49.5 million. On April 28, 2023, HMCS Edmonton returned to the ship's home port at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

HMCS Saskatoon and Yellowknife (2022)

On February 22, 2022, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship's Saskatoon and Yellowknife began operating as part of Operation CARIBBE. Both ships undertook counter-narcotic activities in the South-Eastern Pacific ocean in conjunction with our partners from the United States Coast Guard. Over the course of their deployment, both ship have disrupted 872 kg of drugs. The ship returned to CFB Esquimalt on May 20, 2022.

HMCS Harry DeWolf (2022)

On April 4, 2022, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Harry DeWolf departed Halifax for Op CARIBBE, Canada's contribution to Campaign MARTILLO – the multinational campaign against transnational criminal organizations in the Caribbean Sea. While on Op CARIBBE, HMCS Harry DeWolf also participated in Exercise TRADEWINDS 2022, a multidimensional ground, air, sea, and cyber exercise focused on strengthening safety and security in the Caribbean region, with a focus on humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Over the course of its sail, HMCS Harry DeWolf has disrupted 375 kg of drugs. HMCS Harry DeWolf returned to CFB Halifax on May 29, 2022.

HMCS Harry DeWolf (2021)

On December 16, 2021 the HMCS Harry DeWolf returned to port in Halifax following four months at sea. The ship began its historic journey in Canada's arctic as part of Operation NANOOK then continued on a subsequent circumnavigation of North America in support of Operation CARIBBE. During this deployment, HMCS Harry DeWolf, working in support of their embarked United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, successfully supported two interdictions with law enforcement officials seizing a combined 2589 kgs of cocaine.

Over the past seventeen years, the CAF has contributed to the disruption or seizure of more than 123 metric tonnes of cocaine.

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