NEWS

HMCS Whitehorse ordered home over allegations of crew misconduct

07/15/2014 01:18 EDT | Updated 09/14/2014 05:59 EDT
The Royal Canadian Navy is recalling one of its ships, HMCS Whitehorse, due to allegations of misconduct by three crew members.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman ordered the ship to withdraw from a joint training exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific off the U.S. coast. The ship is now heading back to its home port of Esquimault, B.C.

The navy will not confirm details of the alleged misconduct, saying only there was a “series of incidents” involving the crew that took place while the ship was in port in San Diego, Calif., over a two-day period. The incidents are still under investigation.

Cmdr. Hubert Genest, a navy spokesman, said two incidents occurred on the ship between crew members and a third incident happened in downtown San Diego, involving a crew member and another person. Genest said that crew member was arrested and subsequently released.

Genest suggested the fact the two on-ship incidents were reported internally signal that navy personnel know their rights and feel they can come forward with allegations.

In a statement, Norman said, "The men and women in our Royal Canadian Navy set a high standard of conduct when representing our country at home and abroad. While instances have arisen that have fallen short of these standards, the vast majority of our personnel serve with distinction and professionalism."

Norman said in his statement that an internal review of the navy’s policies and procedures will be conducted by Commodore Craig Baines, commander of the Canadian fleet, in light of the "recent incidents." The review includes expectations of navy personnel when ashore.

Genest said the incidents are being considered a "tipping point" inside the navy and a sign that something needs to change to protect the reputation of Canada's navy around the world. Genest also suggested Norman believes the answer to these problems requires a "bold decision."

The findings of the navy's review are expected in the fall.

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