Princess Anne takes part in the key ceremony for the Arctic Navy ship in British Columbia

VANCOUVER – The first Arctic patrol vessel for Canada’s Pacific Fleet was officially commissioned during a ceremony with Princess Anne, sister of King Charles.

VANCOUVER – The first Arctic patrol vessel for Canada’s Pacific Fleet was officially commissioned during a ceremony with Princess Anne, sister of King Charles.

She attended the event Friday in North Vancouver in her role as Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Fleet Pacific. The ceremony was limited to one media photographer and one video camera.

The Department of National Defense said in a statement on Friday that the official introduction of HMCS Max Bernays into the fleet included a “symbolic handing over of the ship’s keys” to the commanding officer, Commander Collin Forsberg, “along with the breaking of the ship’s keys .” commissioning pennant, and three cheers by the ship’s company.”

Forsberg told reporters ahead of the ceremony that the patrol vessel arrived at its new homeport in Esquimalt last month. He said the ship was “designed primarily for the exercise of Canadian sovereignty in northern waters.”

He said the introduction of the ship, which is named after a Canadian naval hero in the Second World War, will enable the Navy to better meet future defense challenges in the North.

“It’s great to be here and doing our commissioning. It’s been 2.5 years of really hard work for the crew of HMCS Max Bernays,” he said.

Forsberg said the ship has not yet flown any missions for the government, but the new ship will likely begin with three- to four-month missions. The ship, he said, was designed to navigate through water with ice about a meter thick.

“Having done the ice tests in the two previous ships, I know the ship can do that successfully and that makes us unique because we have the pulling power to go through the Arctic ice.”

The HMCS Max Bernays was built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and launched in Atlantic waters on October 23, 2021.

Forsberg said the ship is fully crewed with 65 people after handing over control of the ship to West Coast personnel over the past nine months.

“It’s a very happy day for us, but also a bit of a sad day because this is the day we say goodbye to our sailors on the East Coast,” he said.

Forsberg said it was “extremely special” to welcome Princess Anne to the ship for the ceremony.

“It is a tremendous honor to be welcomed into the fleet by Her Royal Highness,” he said. “It really touches on the history of our ship.”

It is the first ship in the Harry DeWolf class to join the Pacific Fleet, although the HMCS Robert Hampton Gray is expected to become the second such ship to make the move between coasts, the Defense Department said in a statement last month issued statement.

During a media tour of the ship on Friday, the ship’s staff was seen preparing for Princess Anne’s arrival. Among them was Lt. Cmdr. Clayton Erickson, who stepped in to help Lt. Alex Tremblay fix his tie before the ceremony.

The tour also included a look at the dining and living areas, control rooms, the infirmary, as well as the waiting room or dining room, where the Princess would dine with the Commander and others during her sail to Vancouver Island.

B.C.’s lieutenant governor’s office said last week that the princess and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, would attend the commissioning, which would then be followed by an overnight sail to Esquimalt.

It’s part of a series of events for the Princess during her three-day trip to BC, which started with the commissioning ceremony in North Vancouver.

The Princess’s itinerary includes a visit to the archives and collection space of the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria, which was established with an initial donation from the Princess’s late father, Prince Philip.

She will attend a memorial service marking the Battle of the Atlantic at the British Columbia legislature and lay a wreath, and visit the Military Family Resource Centre.

Princess Anne will also meet with Janet Austin, BC’s lieutenant governor, and several community leaders from the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2024.

Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version stated that the ship was Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel. In fact, it is the first such ship to join the Pacific Fleet.