naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 552

NAC News – Edition 552

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of February 16th, 2024

­Edition: 552   Quote: “In January 1905 at age 15, Fritz [Frederic Thornton Peters, VC] commenced service with the Royal Navy.  His parents hoped he would be stationed close to home at Esquimalt for a five-year term, as was common for cadets in the past.  But the navy closed its Pacific Station in March 1905 because Britain was marshalling resources to home waters in response to the rising threat of Germany.  Bertha later said Fritz would have joined the Royal Canadian Navy if it had existed at the time, but the Naval Service Act that created the RCN was five years in the future, so the only navy for a young Canadian was the prestigious Royal Navy – ruler of the sea and bulwark of the Empire.”  The Bravest Canadian, pg. 16, Sam McBride, Granville Island Publishing, 2012

(Editor – Highly decorated, Peters is one of the four Canadians serving in/with the RN to be awarded the Victoria Cross.  See William Hall article in the CANADA section below)

Rod Hughes: Editor NAC News  (Comments welcome to help improve this service.)  Links to keep in touch with the NAC and RCN can be found at the bottom of this email.  Contact Kevin Goheen if you wish someone to be added to the NAC News email distribution. (Influencer or good candidates to become a NAC member, and note the first year’s NAC/Branch membership dues are waived)


27 February 2024 7:30 – 18:00 Ottawa time, ShipTech Forum 2024.  This year’s theme is “Pushing Fleets Beyond Designed Life”.  NAC is an official supporter of the organizer VANGUARD, Canada’s leading trade media that serves the Canadian defence and security industries.  Vanguard expects 300+ attendees and 12 exhibitors.  As such there is a $50 discount for NAC members who wish to purchase a ticket and the promo code is STF24_NAC.  All CAF, CCG, & government personnel can register for FREE.  Not Able to Attend in Person: all speaker sessions will be live streamed, to allow for virtual attendance.

7-8 March 2024  CDA Institute – Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence.  The Ottawa Conference on Security & Defence is the largest and longest-standing event of its kind in Canada.  Founded in 1932, the Conference of Defence Associations is an umbrella organization for 45 member associations who represent over 400,000 active and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces.  NAC is a member Association.  This event has now 70% of its tickets sold.

UPDATED 1-3 May 2024 NIBC’s Maritime Arctic 2024 conference (Editor – agenda and speakers at this link), Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, Victoria, BC.  This international two-and-a-half-day conference will consist of informative presentations, interactive Q&A sessions, and panel discussions, bringing together key Canadian and international stakeholders in the maritime industry, environmental organizations, governmental transport authorities, coast guards, consultants, and technology providers.  Social and professional networking opportunities will be embedded in the programme.  NAC members are eligible for the “Affiliate” reduced rate.  NAC-VI is helping sponsor this event.



Canada used to punch above its weight, but our defence capacity now seems an impossible dream: Richard Fadden in the Globe and Mail

Maritime Power Shapes the World Order – And is Undergoing a Sea Change

Trump’s NATO comments aren’t cause for panic — but they should be taken seriously, experts warn



Is Canada a weak link in NATO? (Editor – CBC news 5:55 min video) and a CGAI: Cutting the Defence Budget in 2023 (Editor – a dry but pertinent 47:55 min podcast that I missed including earlier)

Leaks, ineffective anchors, mechanical breakdowns among ongoing problems facing new Arctic patrol ships

OSI Contracted for In-Service Support for the RCN AOPS IBNS

Editor – Given todays Red Sea operations please note in the Significant RCN Dates section below, the 24 February 1992 entry for Op Barrier under UNSCRs 661 and 687.  Thanks to NAC-VI member Darren Rich (EO of RES at the time) for pointing out Op Barrier.  To all members, if there are any other ops I’ve missed please help us build a fuller picture by pointing them out!

Canadian Surface Combatant support gets extended for another year

Quebec’s Bronswerk Group awarded $100 million in contracts by Irving Shipbuilding to contribute to the next generation of vessels for Royal Canadian Navy

A Day In The Life On A Coast Guard Research Vessel

CGAI: Why Strategy Matters – A Conversation with Hal Brands (Editor – 34:35 min podcast)

The Doomsday Clock has never been closer to midnight than it is now

Nova Scotia Heritage Day 2024 Honouree: William Hall, V.C.

NATO dive-training exercise underway on Vancouver Island (Editor – includes a 1:37 min video)

Seaspan Shipyards completes prototype block for Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaker

Why I Serve in the RCN: S1 Solly (Editor – RCN recruiting 1:57 min video)

Defence wraps up case in sex assault trial of retired vice-admiral Edmundson

Message on the Public Service Health Care Plan

ATCO x Invictus: Our Military Story (Editor – 59 sec video – Vancouver/Whistler 2025)

Wreck of WWII-Era Freighter Found in Lake Superior

NAC Children’s books are still available for sale

RCN ranks (Editor – 30 sec video)

Lookout: Volume 69, Issue 6, February 12, 2024 and on page 7 RCN sailor traverses the Antarctic waters with the Chilean Navy

Change in items to NAC Niobe Papers The Undersea Dragon: China’s Submarine Force and its Impact – Edward (Ned) Feltham (Editor – Please share with anyone you think may benefit from the knowledge, after all, that’s what our naval affairs programme is all about – enlightening Canadians)



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Feb. 12, 2024

Colombian, Ecuadorian military detain submarine packed with tons of drugs

Deep Intel on the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) (Editor – insightful interview 15:15 min video)

Metal Shark Expands Shipbuilding in Louisiana

USNS Mercy Returns to San Diego, Concluding Pacific Partnership 24-1

CIMSEC: The vibrant military (and criminal) activities across the Caribbean Sea

Laser Weapon Too Big To Fit (Editor – 35 sec video)

Navy Surging C-2A Greyhounds as V-22 Groundings Continue

U.S. Container Import Volumes Soar Prompting Retailers to Increase Forecast

U.S. Navy Picks Three Vendors to Quickly Field AUVs for Seabed Warfare

First and Fifth New U.S. Training Ships Mark Milestones

UK Recovers Bell From Only U.S. Destroyer Sunk in World War I

Independent Researchers Reveal Four Unknown Seamounts (Editor – one wonders how many are out there?)



Taiwan records approach of 21 Chinese PLA aircraft, six vessels in past day

North Korea Launches Cruise Missiles Ahead of U.S.-Japan Tomahawk Missile Training

Cooperative activity plays a crucial role with U.S. Joins Japan, Australia for Trilateral South China Sea Naval Exercise

China Coast Guard Cuts Off Philippine Cutter at Scarborough Shoal

Japanese whale subs to hunt Chinese vessels

India’s Project 15A and 15B Destroyers: Blending Capabilities from Across the Globe (Editor – 4:25 min video)

US Seeking to Auction Russian Oligarch’s Yacht Costing $7 Million a Year to Maintain

Koreans Intercept 100KG of Cocaine Hidden in Sea Chest of Cargo Ship




Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov sunk off Crimea, says Ukraine (Editor – a fourth one!, includes a 1:38 sec video, and a slick breakdown in a 8:03 min video) How Ukrainian Sea Drones Destroyed a Russian Ship Caesar Kunikov

The political tides of war are shifting — and may be taking Ukraine with them (Editor – will the west default and allow Russia to win?)

Russia’s Shadow Tanker Fleet Runs into Trouble (Editor – the scale is appalling) and Tankers Tied to the Russian Oil Trade Grind to a Halt Following US Sanctions


NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2024: Unprecedented Military Exercise Signals Alliance Unity and Preparedness with HMS Prince of Wales prepared and sailed in just one week to replace her sister ship. plus Canada’s HMCS Charlottetown transits the Atlantic to participate in Exercise Steadfast Defender and a different seaborne aspect Mammoth task of moving hundreds of Army vehicles for huge Nato exercise (Editor – 2:36 min video)

Spain: Eight arrests after two officers die in ‘narco-boat’ chase

Op-Ed: To Avoid UK’s Struggles, All AUKUS Subs Should Be Virginia-Class

French Camcopter S-100 UAVs finally ready for operational use after more than 10 years of testing

Europe needs a decade to build up arms stocks, says defence firm boss

Why Russia Tried to Block This Canal (Editor – historic part of Europe in an 8:49 min video)



Red Sea:

U.S. Reveals Iranian Arms Seizure Bound for Houthis as Missiles Continue

Report: U.S. Carried Out Covert Cyberattack on Iranian Spy Ship

US Strikes Unmanned Vessels And Cruise Missiles Near Yemen

Houthi Militants Fire Two Missiles at Iran-Bound Bulker

Danish Frigate Joins U.S.-Led Red Sea Security Mission

Houthi rebels present little threat to undersea cables, US admiral says


The Shadow Tankers Sneaking Russian Oil Past Western Sanctions | WSJ (Editor – this situation is vexing 5:46 min video)

Watch: Iran Launches Ballistic Missiles from Converted Warship

Iran’s IRGC Navy adds new vessels and cruise missiles to strengthen its Persian Gulf presence

Iran Will Reciprocate If Its Ships Are Seized, Official Says

UN Agency Says Aid Shipment Blocked In Israeli Port

Qatar Releases Eight Indian Navy Vets Who Had Been Sentenced to Death



Trillion-tonne iceberg A23a spins on the spot

Arctic Council cooperation with Russia: “We should not close those doors”



HMS Victory: Returning Nelson’s flagship to her former glory (Editor – 6:40 min video)

The Origins of the Torpedo – That which lurks beneath… (Editor – some of the developments herald the drones in use today, a 40:16 min video)

Deep Sea Cowboys

How do Map Projections Work? (Editor – 13:20 min video)



18 February 1944  Sixteen Canadian minesweepers, in four divisions of four ships, begin to leave St. John’s for British waters to take part in the invasion of Normandy.

19 February 1944  Motor Torpedo boats of the 29th and 65th (Canadian) Flotillas began to be commissioned (continues until 31 March).

21 February 1941  The freighter SS Canadian Cruiser (Built in 1921 by Halifax Shipyards and owned by Canadian Tramp Shipping Co. Ltd.), was sailing unescorted between various Indian Ocean ports.  She was intercepted by the German pocket battleship KMS Admiral Sheer and sunk by gunfire about 500 nm east of Zanzibar (now Tanzania).  There were no casualties.  All 36 crew members were taken prisoner.  One man later escaped from a POW camp to Spain.

22 February 1941  The freighter SS A.D. Huff (Atlantic Transportation Company, Montreal) was sailing independently from London to St. John’s.  An old 4-inch gun was mounted on the poop deck, with a single DEMS rating to supervise his merchant seamen gunners.  Mid-morning on 22 Feb, Huff had about 520 nm remaining in her transit to John’s, when a small biplane appeared overhead.  The aircraft signalled for the ship to stop.  The Master tried to outrun the threat using his ship’s best speed which was only 8 knots.  By midday, the German battle cruiser KMS Gneisenau was on the horizon.  Almost at once there was the distant thud of heavy guns and two huge shells splashed in the ship’s wake.  The Gneisenau continued periodic shelling of the merchantman with her 11-inch guns.  The Master ordered his puny 4-inch gun fired at the oncoming vessel, but the DEMS gunner probably wisely refused.  Then hits began to be more direct, with a hit on the large anchor windlass on the forecastle.  The Gneisenau started using her secondary 5.9-inch guns.  The most damaging being two hits to the engine room.  The Master then ordered the crew to abandon ship.  The ship’s Radio Officer tried to transmit the raider warning signal R-R-R-R, but Gneisenau’s operators jammed the signal.  As the lifeboats cleared away from the ship, Gneisenau approached to within 100 yards and hastened the Huff’s demise with gunfire until she sank.  Two engine room personnel were killed and 40 crew members including the DEMS gunner were taken prisoner.

22 February 1943  Operation Torch – RCN Flower Class corvette HMCS Weyburn struck a mine laid by U-118 off the Strait of Gibraltar; the explosion kills one seaman of her crew of 77; before the ship sank, all but two depth charges are rendered safe by throwing the detonators over the side; British destroyer HMS Wivern starts to remove the wounded and survivors when twenty minutes later an after bulkhead gives way and the corvette begins to sink; the two depth charges exploded, killing 8 more sailors and wounding others in the water; Wivern’s engines and boilers are hit, leaving the ship dead in the water; 84 RCN and RN sailors are wounded in total.

22 February 1945  HMCS Trentonian is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine U1004 near Falmouth England, six of her ship’s company were lost.

23 February 1942  Two Canadian merchant ships steaming without escorts were sunk by U-129 on the very same day.  The first ship was sunk at 0120 in the early morning of 23 February and the second was sunk later in the afternoon at 1504.  Each ship had been stalked for hours by U-129 before they were each sunk.  Both ships were ore carriers with cargoes of high value bauxite, and they were steaming from Paramaribo, Dutch Surinam (todays Guiana) to Port of Spain, Trinidad.  Their wartime cargoes of bauxite would be shipped from Trinidad to various North American locations to be used in aluminum production for various weapons systems.  The ore carrier SS George L. Torian (Upper Lakes & St Lawrence Transportation Co. Ltd. Toronto) was sunk at 0120 when she was about 120 nm SE from Trinidad.  The U-129 fired a torpedo into the ship’s bow and twenty-eight seconds later, she quickly sank.  13 crew members (including the Master) and two passengers were killed.  Four crew members were rescued by a US Navy flying boat.  The ore carrier SS Lennox (Canada Steamships Lines Ltd, Montreal) was sunk at 1504 when she was about 160 nm from Trinidad.  Two crew members were killed.  The Master and 17 crew members were rescued by a merchant ship and landed at Port of Spain.

23 February 1945  The freighter SS Point Pleasant Park (Furness Withy, Canada Ltd, Montreal) was sailing independently from Saint John, New Brunswick, via Trinidad across the South Atlantic to Cape Town. The cargo consisted of commercial trade goods transported between the ports-of-call while on route to Cape Town and back to Saint John. This round trip would be her third such commercial transit between Saint John to Cape Town.  At 1400 with Cape Town being 500 nm to the SE, the ship was hit by a torpedo fired by U-510.  The torpedo struck the stern and blew off the screw, killed nine men and slowly flooded the engine room.  The crew abandoned the ship.  U-510 surfaced and fired bursts from the 37 mm AA gun into the waterline to flood the forward holds, and the left the area.  Eight days later (2 March) the lifeboat with the Master and 19 crew members made landfall at Mercury Island South West Africa (now Namibia).  Ten days later (4 March) 29 crew members, in a lifeboat, were rescued by HMSAS Africana.

24 February 1992  On 4 February Ottawa announced that HMCS Restigouche would sail to the Red Sea to become part of the Maritime Interdiction Force named Operation Barrier.  With only 19 days’ notice Restigouche, still fitted with the equipment with which she had been fitted for the Gulf War, left Esquimalt on 24 February, and headed east via the Panama and Suez Canals.  On 21 April, Restigouche commenced operations in the Red Sea, joining ships from Australia, France, and the United States.  A US Coast Guard vessel assisted with the first two inspections, after which Restigouche was on her own.  May was a busy month with 57 boardings and only eight days in port – in Jeddah Saudi Arabia and Safaga, Egypt where the Canadian Logistics Detachment provided for her needs.  June followed with more boardings, bringing the overall total to 120, after which there was a 10-day visit to Haifa, Israel, for relaxation and maintenance.  Canada Day was celebrated in Safaga, with five more boardings completed before Restigouche left the operations area on 4 July.  She set sail eastwards, arriving in Esquimalt on 21 August, circumnavigating the globe in the process.

SIGNIFICANT RCN DATES – If you see any omissions or errors please inform me, and any more modern significant dates are also welcomed.  The list draws primarily from the Directory of History and Heritage’s comprehensive “Significant Dates in Canadian Military History”, the now defunct “Canada Channel”, “Legion Magazine”, The Naval Service of Canada, Its Official History Vol 1-3, NAC member Roger Litwiller’s excellent web site, encyclopedic guidance from NAC member Fraser McKee, the site, and anywhere else I can find credible information.  For the merchant ship history, a special thanks to NAC member Bill Dziadyk for his able assistance and detailed work.  The RCN lost 1,965 men and 24 ships during the War, most of them in the Atlantic.  A comprehensive list of the staggering merchant losses – sunk, damaged, or lost – Canadian Merchant Ship Losses of the Second World War, 1939-1945 by Rob Fisher {Revised June 2001}, and for the loss of individual personnel RCN Ship Histories, Convoy Escort Movements, Casualty Lists 1939-1947)

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