HMCS Athabaskan (DDG 282)

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HMCS athabaskan.jpg
Name: Athabaskan
Namesake: Athabaskan
Builder: Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon
Laid down: 1 June 1969
Launched: 27 November 1970
Commissioned: 30 September 1972
Decommissioned: 10 March 2017
Refit: 4 June 1994 (TRUMP)
Homeport: CFB Halifax
Motto: We Fight as One
Honours and
Arctic, 1943–44; English Channel, 1944; Korea, 1950–53; Gulf and Kuwait[1]
Fate: Sold for scrap
Status: Paid Off
Notes: Colours:White and Scarlet
Badge: Blazon On a field argent, a North American Indian clad in buckskin breeches, leggings and beaded moccasins, but bare to the waist except for a necklace of bear's claws and blue shells, and ear ornaments of the last. The Indian wears the full-feathered headdress and is mounted bareback upon an Indian pony being halted from the trot. The Indian holds a red bow and arrow in the "ready" position, the latter pointing down.[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Iroquois-class destroyer
Displacement: 5100 t
Length: 129.8 m (425.9 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (49.9 ft)
Draught: 4.7 m (15.4 ft)
Speed: 29 kn (53.7 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nmi (8,334.0 km)
Complement: 280
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Signaal AN/SPQ 501 DA-08 radar
  • Signaal LW-08 AN/SPQ 502 radar
  • SQS-510 hull sonar
  • SQS-510 VDS sonar
Aircraft carried: 2 × CH-124 Sea King helicopters
Aviation facilities: hangar and flight deck
Foredeck, gun and bridge

HMCS Athabaskan was an Iroquois-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1972 until 2017. Athabaskan was the third ship of her class which is sometimes referred to as the Tribal class or simply as the 280 class. She is the third vessel to use the designation HMCS Athabaskan.

Athabaskan was laid down on 1 June 1969 at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and was launched on 27 November 1970. She was officially commissioned on 30 September 1972 and carries the hull classification symbol 282.

Athabaskan completed a refit known as the Tribal Class Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP) on 4 June 1994. At this time her classification changed from Destroyer Helicopter (DDH) to Destroyer Guided Missile (DDG). She was assigned to Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) homeported at CFB Halifax.

Decommissioning Command Team[edit]


Athabaskan served on MARLANT missions protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Atlantic Ocean and enforcing Canadian laws in its territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone. She has also been deployed on missions throughout the Atlantic and to the Indian Ocean; specifically, the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea after Iraq occupied Kuwait.

NATO missions in Atlantic Ocean[edit]

Athabaskan participated in several NATO missions, patrolling the Atlantic Ocean as part of Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) and its successor Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1).

Iraq–Kuwait war in Persian Gulf[edit]

In August 1990, Athabaskan was hurriedly refitted with several advanced weapons and took part in Operation Friction and in Operation Desert Shield. The weapons included a close-in weapon system (CIWS). Athabaskan was appointed flagship of the Canadian Naval Task Group, which included the destroyer Terra Nova and supply ship Protecteur. The task group served in the central Persian Gulf, with other coalition naval forces, through the fall of 1990.

After Operation Desert Storm began in January 1991, the task group undertook escort duties for hospital ships and other vulnerable naval vessels of the coalition. The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton detonated two Iraqi bottom-moored influence mines (MANTAs) at the north end of the Persian Gulf and was seriously damaged. Athabaskan was not assigned to the area, but the commanding officer of Princeton specifically requested her assistance. Unlike most ships of her size, Athabaskan could simultaneously operate two large CH-124 Sea King helicopters, which could search out mines for long periods. Athabaskan and her helicopters helped both ships avoid mines until the minesweeper USS Adroit escorted them out of the minefield. As a gesture of solidarity, Athabaskan winched over several cases of beer for the crew of Princeton, since United States Navy vessels were dry.[NB 1] Athabaskan returned to her task group and remained on station in the Persian Gulf until after the war ended. After the hostilities were complete she was relieved by her sister ship Huron. The professionalism of Athabaskan earned praise from Princeton's commanding officer, Captain Edward Hontz.[17]

Disaster relief in U.S.[edit]

Sailors from HMCS Athabaskan unload supplies on a pier on board Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida as part of Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts

On 2 September 2005, Athabaskan was one of several MARLANT vessels and a Canadian Coast Guard ship that were deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana to assist disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. This was part of the larger Canadian response to Hurricane Katrina.[2]

Disaster relief in Haiti[edit]

On 14 January 2010, as part of Operation Hestia, following rapid outfitting Athabaskan and Halifax were deployed to Haiti to assist with disaster relief efforts after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. This was as part of the larger multi-pronged Canadian response of DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team).[3] The crew of Athabaskan primarily concentrated relief efforts in the city of Léogâne where the crew assisted in triage efforts with the Canadian Medical Assistance Team, cleared rubble within Notre Dame Asylum, built three orphanages and lent aid to five others. Léogâne is a city of 135,000 that was slow to receive relief efforts and was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake. There were an estimated 20,000–30,000 casualties in the city.

NATO exercises[edit]

After experiencing a series of engine failures and maintenance issues, the ship underwent repairs.[4] The ship was repaired and set sail on 8 September 2015, NATO naval exercises Joint Warrior and Trident Venture with Windsor, Halifax, Montréal, Goose Bay and Summerside.[5][6] However, the starboard cruise engine failed while crossing the Atlantic. The ship sailed to the United Kingdom where she was joined by a mobile repair team which replaced the engine.[7][8]

In September 2016 Athabaskan was among the Canadian warships deployed to the NATO naval training exercise "Cutlass Fury" off the east coast of North America.[9]


In September 2016, the RCN announced that Athabaskan would be paid off in the early 2017, leaving the navy without a platform capable of long-range air defence, at least until the introduction of the planned Canadian Surface Combatant.[10] After returning from her last port visit in Bermuda, the ship conducted two days sails for families and past crew members, on 7 and 8 March 2017, respectively. The vessel conducted a final sail past of Halifax Harbour on 10 March 2017, upon which she was paid off and the ship's company reassigned to other units.[11][12] HMCS Athabaskan was sold for dismantling by Marine Recycling Corporation at their facility at Sydney, Nova Scotia.[13]


In 2009, a man in Nova Scotia discovered one of Athabaskan's pre-1994 refit engines in a shipping container he had been using as a bridge on his property. The man had bought the container for $400 believing it was empty. The engine was originally valued at $2 million.[14]


  • 1 June 1969: laid down [15]
  • 27 November 1970: launched Lauzon, QC [16]
  • 30 September 1972: commissioned [17]
  • 26 November 1981: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan's Sea King helicopter removed 44 people from oil rig Rowan Juneau off Sable Island in 60 knot winds and sea state 5 conditions.[18]
  • 24 August 1990: refitted for Operation Friction, part of Operation Desert Shield [19]
  • Late 1990: sent to Persian Gulf
  • January 1991: escort duties
  • 18 February 1991: Within three hours and ten nautical miles (19 km), USS Tripoli and Princeton struck mines while conducting operations in the northern Persian Gulf. Ships lead out of danger by HMCS Athabaskan.[20]
  • April 1991: returns to Halifax for refit
  • 15 October 1991: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan arrived Sorel PQ for TRUMP modernization [21]
  • 4 June 1994: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan completed TRUMP refit Marine Industries Ltd Sorel, QC [22]
  • 8 October 1995: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan departed Halifax for South American UNITAS exercises.[23]
  • 15 March 1999: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan departed Halifax to Join STANAVFORLANT in Hamilton, Bermuda.[24]
  • 9 March 2000: New Orleans [25]
  • 24 June 2004: Boston [26]
  • 28 June 2004: Halifax
  • 2004, Sep 22: Halifax [27]
  • 2004, Nov 8: HMC ships Athabaskan, St John's, Halifax and Toronto, that formed part of Task Group 301.1, departed from their anchorages in Bedford Basin to rendezvous with the remainder of the Task Group. The ships were to participate in Combat Readiness Operations (CRO), one of the largest exercises led by the Canadian Navy in the last decade and the largest grouping of Canadian ships since Operation Apollo.[28]
  • 2004, Nov 19: Norfolk [29]
  • 2 March 2005: Nassau [30]
  • 28 May 2005: New York (Fleet Week)
  • 2005, Sep 2: deployed to US Gulf Coast to assist disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.[31]
  • 2005, Sep 11: New Orleans [32]
  • 2005, Sep 12: Pensacola
  • 2005, Sep 22: Norfolk
  • 11 January 2006: HMCS Athabaskan departed Halifax on a six-month deployment to join the Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group One (SNMG1) in Kiel.[33]
  • 19 January 2006: Plymouth Sound [34]
  • 2006, Jan 23: Kiel Canal (International Squadron). Flagship 25th.
  • 2006, Feb 5: off Denmark coast, Sea King trying to land crashes. No casualties or injuries
  • 2006, Feb 19: Valletta (International Squadron)
  • 8 March 2006: Malaga (International Squadron) [35]
  • 2006, Mar 17: Den Helder (International Squadron)
  • 2006, Apr 13: Antwerp (International Squadron) [36]
  • 2006, Apr 20: Devonport (International Squadron)
  • 2006, Apr 21: Warships moored at Devonport Naval Base commemorate the 80th birthday of the Queen. Foreign ships from the Standing Naval Maritime Group One (flagship HMCS Athabaskan) are also taking part. This is a squadron of eight to ten destroyers and frigates from across NATO countries that patrols mainly in the eastern Atlantic conducting joint training exercises. The group are currently taking part in Flag Officer Sea Training at Devonport.[37]
  • 2006, Apr 28: Lisbon (International Squadron)
  • 2006, May 16: Rota (International Squadron)
  • 2006, Jun 6: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (International Squadron)
  • 2006, Jun 28: Cape Verde (International Squadron)
  • 2006, Jul 10: Halifax [38]
  • 2006, Nov 20: Morehead City [39]
  • 2008, Apr 11: Boston [40]
  • Mid 2008: in Halifax for 5 weeks in summer
  • 2008, late Jun: leaves Halifax Harbour for a week of trials and drills [41]
  • 2008, Jul 27: arrives in St. John's NL for 5 days of rest and festivities, including Canada Day [42][43]
  • 2008, Oct 27: first successful sea trials with new laser-gyro INS
  • 2008, Nov 29: Boston [44]
  • 28 February 2009: Bermuda [45]
  • 2009, Mar 3: In ceremony aboard Athabaskan in Bermuda, Commodore Norman takes over Atlantic Fleet
  • 2009, May 20: New York (Fleet Week)
  • 2009, Aug 20: Cdr P. Crain takes command of HMCS Athabaskan
  • 2009, Sep 28: Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland. Ship proceeds through Scapa Flow to pay respect to HMS Royal Oak. Glasgow and Edinburgh port visits.
  • 13 January 2010: Prepares to deploy to Haiti in Canadian relief for an earthquake that had impacted on Jan 12.[46]
  • 14 January 2010: Sails from CFB Halifax en route to Haiti along with HMCS Halifax for humanitarian Operation HESTIA
  • 2010, Mar 17: Ship returns to Halifax.
  • 2010, May 6: Lt. Governor's Cruise to Sydney, NS to Celebrate Canadian Navy Centennial.
  • 2010, May 26: New York (Fleet Week)
  • 2010, Jun 29: HMCS Athabaskan is command ship for Queen Elizabeth II's review of International Fleet in Halifax Harbour as part of Canadian Navy Centennial celebrations.
  • 2010, Nov 1: Task Group Exercise 2–10, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Norfolk port visits.
  • 2010, Dec 17: Cdr Micheal Davie takes command of HMCS Athabaskan.
  • 2012, Apr 9: Currently docked outside Seaway Marine and Industrial Limited, formerly known as the Port Weller Dry Docks in the Welland Canal in St. Catharines, Ontario.
  • 2012, late Dec: When being towed from St. Catharines back to Halifax, sustained hull damaged when ship broke loose near Scatarie off Cape Breton coast; now tied down in North Sydney.
  • 2013, June: Restricted Readiness Inspections.
  • 2013, Jul 17: Boston.
  • 2013, Sep 16: sea trials start.[47]
  • 2014, April: Work Ups, port visit to Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 2014, June–July: Rendezvous Naval Québec, Air Workups/Ship Without Air Detachment (SWOAD) Training.
  • 2014, August: Task Group Exercise 2–14, including port visit to Mayport, Florida.
  • 2014, September: Baltimore, Star Spangled Spectacular celebration.
  • 2014, September–October: Caribbean deployment and maritime security operations, diplomatic visit to Veracruz, Mexico.
  • 2014, November: Short Work Period in Halifax.
  • 2015, March: Damaged during storm of sea state 9[48]
  • 2015, July: After experiencing a series of engine failures and maintenance issues, the ship remains alongside in Halifax undergoing repairs
  • 2016, May: Ship enters New York Harbor to participate in Fleet Week.
  • 2016, September: Ship participates in Exercise Cutlass Fury as part of a NATO Task Group, off the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
  • 2016, October–December: Ship participates in Exercise SPARTAN WARRIOR, off the coast of Virginia, Florida and the Bahamas
  • 2017, February: Ship participates in USN Task Group Exercise, Final Port Visit to Her First Port Visit Hamilton Bermuda
  • 2017, March 10: Athabaskan is officially paid off and retired from active service[49]


  1. ^ officially without alcoholic beverages


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External links[edit]