Warship ordered home for 'sailor misconduct'
In a rare move by the Royal Canadian Navy, a ship has been ordered home from a training exercise because of "sailor misconduct."
HMCS Whitehorse returned to Esquimalt, B.C., Monday, after Vice-Admiral Mark Norman of the RCN ordered it home from an international naval exercise called RIMPAC.
According to the U.S. Navy website, RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise with forces from 22 nations across the world participating in this year’s exercises near Hawaii and Southern California. HMCS Whitehorse was one of two Canadian ships involved in operations off of Southern California.
A copy of an internal message sent by Norman was obtained by CTVNews.ca.
In it, Norman writes, it was "with great disappointment" that he ordered the return of HMCS Whitehorse following "three incidents of personal misconduct ashore."
At least one of the incidents involved the arrest of a Canadian sailor by police in San Diego, Calif., CTVNews.ca has confirmed.
The other two incidents involve allegations of sexual misconduct and shoplifting.
"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," Norman said in the message.
Cmdr. Hubert Genest told CTVNews.ca that Norman has appointed a senior officer to conduct a review of the RCN's policies and procedures regarding sailor conduct, both while aboard RCN ships and while onshore.
Commodore Craig Baines has been charged with the review, and Norman said he expects to have the preliminary findings by September.
Sources say Norman wanted to send a strong message that excessive drinking and bad behaviour will not be tolerated.
“This is not the 1960s. This is not the 1990s. This is 2014,” Paul Maddison, the former commander of the Canadian Navy, told CTV News.
“There is a certain expectation by Canadians as to how men and women representing them in uniform (should) behave.”
With a report from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson