New captain of HMCS Harry DeWolf says patrolling the Arctic will only be the start
Cmdr. Corey Gleason has an opportunity offered to only a handful of Canadians.
He has been appointed captain of HMCS Harry DeWolf — a first-of-its kind warship under construction at the Halifax Shipyard and expected to begin sea trials late next year.
Gleason spoke to CBC News about the Royal Canadian Navy’s plan for the ship, following an event organized by the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia.
Sharing the waters with cruises and cargo ships
HMCS Harry DeWolf’s hull is designed to withstand icy conditions, similar to many Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers.
The reinforced bow and extra thrusters can push ice out of the way and safely break up some thinner sections, allowing it to patrol icy waters that currently force many other navy vessels to turn around.
The hope is the ship will be able to respond to incidents in a region getting busier every year.
“The cruise and shipping industries are becoming so significant up in the Arctic,” Gleason said.
This month for example, a 1,000-passenger cruise ship called the Crystal Serenity is attempting to go through the Northwest Passage, a feat it accomplished last year.
“It’s no secret,” Gleason said. “The Arctic waters are opening and there is a significant amount of civilian traffic going north. And there will be more.”
“If a cruise ship went out there and had an accident or ran aground, and they had to disembark all those folks to a hamlet, it would have a significant impact,” Gleason said.
HMCS Harry DeWolf could be used to relieve the pressure off that small community, while assisting with the rescue and evacuation of the passengers.