It was a day for various government marine services vessels to move in and out of Halifax Harbour, and for merchant vessels to remain largely invisible.
The most notable move was that of the newly commissioned HMCS Harry DeWolf as it prepared to embark on its first mission as an Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel. It is the first, and "name ship" of a new class of ships to be built for the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship first made a short move from HMC Dockyard to Irving Oil to top up its fuel bunkers.
It later put out to sea on what will be an epic voyage combining arctic exercises, a transit of the Northwest Passage from Atlantic to Pacific, followed by a long west coast voyage to the Panama Canal. The ship will then participate in drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean with the United States Coast Guard before returning to Halifax completing a circumnavigation of North America.
The voyage will mark many firsts in addition to a return to arctic operations by the RCN. The navy has not had an icebreaker in its fleet since HMCS Labrador was transferred to Department of Transport in 1957. Tellingly Harry DeWolf's trip will retrace that of HMCS Labrador in 1954 when it became the first warship to make a Northwest Passage and then completed a circumnavigation of North America. Some considered the 1957 transfer of the Labrador to civilian service a slap in the face to the Navy, and a purely political move. Whatever it was, the RCN transferred its focus to anti-submarine warfare. The (previous) Canadian government's determination to assert its sovereignty in the Arctic lead in part to the current national shipbuilding program which will see more Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels, frigates, Naval supply ships and icebreakers.
Alluding to the Canadian Coast Guard, there have been "visiting" CCG patrol boats in Halifax recently. As Halifax based boats are in refit, boats from other bases have appeared in Halifax. Today CCGC Caporal Kaeble V.C. was noted at the Tall Ships Quay.