Operation CARIBBE

From: National Defence

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.


On Monday, February 13, 2023, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Edmonton deployed from its home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia to conduct drug interdiction on Operation CARIBBE.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

Over the past fifteen years, the CAF has contributed to the disruption or seizure of more than 120 tonnes of cocaine.

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