HMCS Saskatoon (MM 709)

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Name: Saskatoon
Namesake: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Builder: Halifax Shipyards Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia
Laid down: 5 September 1997
Launched: 30 March 1998
Commissioned: 5 December 1998
Homeport: CFB Esquimalt
Honours and
Atlantic, 1942–45.[1]
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Kingston-class coastal defence vessel
Displacement: 970 long tons (990 t)
Length: 55.3 m (181 ft 5 in)
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Draught: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
  • 4 × Jeumont ANR-53-50 alternators, 4 × 600VAC Wärtsilä UD 23V12 diesel engines, 7.2 MW (9,700 hp)
  • 2 × Jeumont CI 560L motors, 3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
  • 2 × LIPS Z drive azimuth thrusters
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Complement: 37
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Kelvin Hughes navigation radar (I-band)
  • Kelvin Hughes 6000 surface search radar (E-F band)
  • Global Positioning System
  • AN/SQS-511 towed side scan sonar
  • Remote-control Mine Hunting System (RMHS)

HMCS Saskatoon is a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel that has served in the Canadian Forces since 1998. Saskatoon is the tenth ship of her class. She is the second vessel to use the designation HMCS Saskatoon. The ship is named after the Canadian city of Saskatoon, and includes other references to the city such as naming the captains desk Cranberry Flats and a main corridor after Idylwyld Drive.[2] She is assigned to Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) and is homeported at CFB Esquimalt.

Design and description[edit]

The Kingston class was designed to fill the minesweeper, coastal patrol and reserve training needs of the Canadian Forces, replacing the Bay-class minesweepers, Porte-class gate vessels and Royal Canadian Mounted Police coastal launches in those roles.[3] In order to perform these varied duties the Kingston-class vessels are designed to carry up to three 6.1-metre (20 ft) ISO containers with power hookups on the open deck aft in order to embark mission-specific payloads.[4] The seven module types available for embarkation include four route survey, two mechanical minesweeping and one bottom inspection modules.[3]

The Kingston class displace 970 long tons (990 t) and are 55.3 metres (181 ft 5 in) long overall with a beam 11.3 metres (37 ft 1 in) and a draught of 3.4 metres (11 ft 2 in).[3] The coastal defence vessels are powered by four Jeumont ANR-53-50 alternators coupled to four Wärtsilä UD 23V12 diesel engines creating 7.2 megawatts (9,700 hp). Two LIPS Z-drive azimuth thrusters are driven by two Jeumont CI 560L motors creating 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) and the Z drives can be rotated 360°. This gives the ships a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) and a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph).[5]

The Kingston class is equipped with a Kelvin Hughes navigational radar using the I band and a Kelvin Hughes 6000 surface search radar scanning the E and F bands. The vessels carry an AN/SQS-511 towed side scan sonar for minesweeping and a Remote-control Mine Hunting System (RMHS). The vessels are equipped with one Bofors 40 mm/60 calibre Mk 5C gun and two M2 machine guns.[5][a] The 40 mm gun was declared obsolete and removed from the vessels in 2014. Some of them ended up as museum pieces and on display at naval reserve installations across Canada.[6] The Kingston-class coastal defence vessels have a complement of 37.[3]

Construction and career[edit]

Saskatoon was laid down on 5 September 1997 by Halifax Shipyards Ltd. at Halifax, Nova Scotia and was launched on 30 March 1998. The ship transferred to the west coast in September and was commissioned into the Canadian Forces on 5 December 1998 at Esquimalt, British Columbia. The coastal defence vessel carries the hull number MM 709.[7]

In 2007, a court martial revealed that a third of the crew of the ship used illicit drugs, namely cocaine. This led to a wider investigation in the Canadian Forces into drug use.[8][9] In February 2012, Saskatoon took part in Exercise Pacific Guardian, a joint naval exercise with the United States.[10] After the 40 mm gun was declared obsolete and removed from the ship, Saskatoon's mount was donated to HMCS Unicorn, the naval reserve division in Saskatoon.[6]

In February 2016 Edmonton and Saskatoon took part in Operation Caribbe.[11] On 19 March, Saskatoon intercepted a fishing boat that when discovered, jettisoned its cargo and fled. Saskatoon recovered ten bales or 360 kilograms (790 lb) of cocaine from the water.[12][13] On 25 March, a patrol aircraft spotted a boat in international waters. The boat, noticing the plane, dumped its cargo and fled. Saskatoon was dispatched to search the area but did not intercept the boat, however, the ship did recover sixteen bales of cocaine totaling 640 kilograms (1,410 lb).[14] Edmonton and Saskatoon returned to Esquimalt on 29 April 2016.[15] In June 2016, Calgary, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Yellowknife sailed from Esquimalt to participate in the RIMPAC naval exercise.[16]

On 20 February 2017, Saskatoon left Esquimalt to join Operation Caribbe.[17] While taking part in the operation, Saskatoon intercepted a small vessel carrying roughly 660 kg (1,460 lb) of cocaine on 12 March in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard.[18] On 6 April, Saskatoon moved to intercept a fishing vessel off the coast of Central America in international waters. A RHIB was launched accompanied by US Coast Guard personnel and the vessel was boarded. Eleven bales of cocaine, totaling 464 kg (1,023 lb) was seized and three people were arrested. A week later, Saskatoon moved to intercept two more vessels in international waters. This caused each vessel to dump 750 kg (1,650 lb) of cocaine into the sea. However, only one of the vessels was caught.[19] Saskatoon returned to Esquimalt on 28 April 2017.[20]



  1. ^ The 60 calibre denotes the length of the gun. This means that the length of the gun barrel is 60 times the bore diameter.


  1. ^ "Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships – HMCS Saskatoon". Official Lineages. National Defence and the Canadian Forces. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  2. ^ "HMCS SASKATOON". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. University of Regina. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Macpherson and Barrie, p. 299
  4. ^ Saunders (2008), p. 95
  5. ^ a b Saunders (2004), p. 92
  6. ^ a b Mallett, Peter (17 October 2018). "Big guns find new life". CFB Esquimalt Lookout. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. ^ Macpherson and Barrie, p. 303
  8. ^ "Illicit drug use was widespread on HMCS Saskatoon, court martial told". 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Cocaine widespread on Canadian warship, court martial told". CBC News. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Exercise PACIFIC GUARDIAN". BC Shipping News. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Esquimalt-based naval vessels join Operation Caribbe". Times Colonist. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  12. ^ Kerslake, Danny (31 March 2016). "HMCS Saskatoon makes high seas drug bust". CBC News. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  13. ^ Menz, Kevin; Mireau, Julie (30 March 2016). "HMCS Saskatoon helps seize 360 kilograms of cocaine off Central American coast". CTV News. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  14. ^ Pugliese, David (8 April 2016). "More drug seizures for Her Majesty's Canadian Ships Saskatoon and Edmonton". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  15. ^ van Straaten, Tess (29 April 2016). "Shawnigan protesters greet defence minister as HMCS Edmonton, Saskatoon come home". CHEK News. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  16. ^ Petrescu, Sarah (13 June 2016). "Navy ships leave for exercise off California". Times Colonist. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  17. ^ Pugliese, David (21 February 2017). "HMCS Saskatoon sets sail for counter-drug operation". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  18. ^ Giles, David (17 March 2017). "HMCS Saskatoon seizes 660 kilograms of cocaine". Global News. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  19. ^ "HMCS Saskatoon on way home after derailing cocaine shipments". Times Colonist. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  20. ^ Pugliese, David (27 April 2017). "HMCS Saskatoon to return Friday from Op Caribbe deployment". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 29 April 2017.


  • Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910–2002 (Third ed.). St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-072-1.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2004). Jane's Fighting Ships 2004–2005 (107 ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group Inc. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2008). Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009. Jane's Fighting Ships (111th ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9. OCLC 225431774.

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