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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

HMCS Preserver to be Paid-off in 2016

By: David Pugliese,

HMCS Preserver is currently is being used for a “Harbour Replenishment Role.”

“The RCN’s intent is to pay off HMCS Preserver later in 2016, with an exact date yet to be determined,” Royal Canadian Navy spokesman Lt(N) Kelly Boyden told Defence Watch. “Until such time, Preserver will continue its role of supporting the Atlantic Fleet by conducting alongside replenishment.”

HMCS Preserver is pushed by tugs in Halifax harbour on Oct. 19, 2011. The Canadian navy is going to retire four veteran ships that have been in service for decades. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
HMCS Preserver is pushed by tugs in Halifax harbour on Oct. 19, 2011. Photo by the Canadian Press.
Here, courtesy of the RCN, is the history of the ship.

Commissioned at Saint John on 30 July 1970, she was selected to carry Governor-General Roland Michener on a visit to the Netherlands and Belgium in 1971. On this trip she twice hosted royalty, on 16 April Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and on the 22nd, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium. That June she carried out the first-ever replenishment of a hydrofoil at sea, the recipient being HMCS Bras d’Or. In 1974-75 Preserver served as supply ship for Canadian troops stationed in Cyprus as part of a UN peacekeeping force. On 7 April 1993, she returned to Halifax from duty off Somalia. Between 18 October and 23 November she served in Operation Forward Action (UN sanctions against Haiti). Preserver next departed on 27 January 1994, to join the multinational force carrying out sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. She operated there again from May to June 1995. She was another of the fleet units that participated in the Swissair disaster off Nova Scotia in September 1998. She departed Halifax on 17 October 2001, with Charlottetown and Iroquois, to support Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S.-led response to the terrorist destruction of the Twin Trade Towers, New York City, on September 11. She returned to Halifax on 27 April 2002.

Over the next decade Preserver continued to serve as the east coast tanker, but with increasing challenges to ensure the mechanical availability of the ship for operations. She participated in TGEX 6/07 in November 2007, the largest fleet activity in recent years, and was the coordinating unit for a major multinational sail-past of the Quebec Citadel on 01 June 2008 marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city. Following a major refit in 2010-11, her return to operational status was delayed by a jetty collision in Halifax on 04 November 2011. Preserver returned to high readiness, represented Canada at the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration in Boston in July 2012 before a deployment to the Caribbean 14 August – 03 October 2012 to participate in Operation CARIBBE and UNITAS 53-12. In 2013 Preserver continued a successful operational cycle, with major deployments including the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group work-ups off the Virginia Capes and Exercise Joint Warrior 13-1 in the North Sea. Preserver’s last operational deployment was again to the Caribbean 23 August – 24 October 2013 participating in Operation CARIBBE and UNITAS LANT 54-13. While on deployment Preserver was successful at interdiction operations and despite its size, captured a go-fast transporting narcotics in the region – a remarkable feat for a vessel of its kind! Preserver commenced 2014 participating in TGEX 2-14 in the North Atlantic 24 February – 13 March 2014 operating with the Canadian Task Group and the German BERLIN-Class replenishment ship FGS Bonn. This exercise marked the final operational time at sea for Preserver, and in September 2014 the ship entered Extended Readiness.