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Canadian ship called home for misconduct at RIMPAC Naval Exercise


South Korea’s Navy Chungmujong Yi Sun-sin-class guided missile destroyer ROKS Wang Geon (DDH-978) departs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in preparation for the sea phase of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014 earlier this month. (REUTERS/Able Seaman Imagery Specialist Chantell Bianchi/Royal Australian Navy/Handout via Reuters)

It looks like a Canadian coastal defense vessel, the HMCS Whitehorse, might be changing its name to Darkhorse.

In a rare move the head of the Royal Canadian Navy ordered the ship to return home from the international naval exercise RIMPAC, after repeated misconduct by its crew, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest naval exercise and this year marks its 24th iteration since 1971. The exercise, running from June 26 to August 1, is composed of 22 nations and more than 20,000 personnel.

Canadian Navy officials told the Citizen that two of the incidents occurred aboard the Whitehorse while the third occurred onshore and involved the arrest of a Canadian sailor by U.S. police.

At the time of the incidents the Whitehorse was docked in San Diego.

“And so, it is with great disappointment that I must now signal why I took the difficult decision to return HMCS Whitehorse to Esquimalt from Exercise RIMPAC 2014, following three incidents of personal misconduct ashore,” Vice Admiral Mark Norman wrote in a Canadian Navy-wide message. “While the actions of a few sailors in Whitehorse was the trigger for my decision, I recalled her home because I am troubled that across the RCN a small number of our personnel have fallen short of the timeless expectations of naval service and have failed in their roles as ambassadors of their navy and country — no matter where they serve.”

In the message Norman said he is selecting a senior officer to conduct a review of certain policies and procedures and “ensure that we are doing everything we can, and should, to provide clear expectations and direction for all personnel as it relates to professional conduct and responsibility, both on and off duty.”

Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a staff writer and a former Marine infantryman.



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