HMCS Charlottetown heads to the dock, returning home to an emotional welcome in Halifax following a five-month deployment with NATO forces off Libya today. — Photo by The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — HMCS Charlottetown returned home Friday to an emotional welcome in the Halifax naval dockyard following a five-month deployment with NATO forces off Libya.
The frigate and its 240-member crew left in the spring to join a UN-sanctioned mission to protect civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Families were on hand to greet the crew, some, including the ship’s commander, meeting their newborn children for the first time.
“We’re very, very proud that everyone has come home safe,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay said.
“The relief on the faces of the families, the joy, is really remarkable to witness.”
The warship came under fire twice while off Libya, first by fast-attack boats and then from rockets fired from shore, but it wasn’t hit.
“Fortunately, it wasn’t as close as it could’ve been and there was no harm done,” MacKay said. “But it speaks to the dangers and the peril that troops face when they go into a volatile situation like this.”
HMCS Charlottetown will be replaced on the mission by HMCS Vancouver.