POLITICS

HMCS Iroquois decommissioning ceremony has old roots

05/01/2015 05:20 EDT | Updated 05/01/2016 05:12 EDT
​HMCS Iroquois will be paid off in a ceremony at the Halifax Dockyard on Friday, a tradition derived from the Royal Navy in the 19th century.

The original term describes what happened when a vessel returned to port and the crew, whose wages had been withheld, were finally paid after their work was complete.

In the modern navy, it's a final ceremony to acknowledge the ship's service and decommission her.

"It means the ship will no longer be a naval ship," Mac MacKay, a longtime Halifax Harbour watcher, told CBC's Information Morning. "It will just be a big lump of steel that has no particularly use to the navy."

The federal government announced last year that the Iroquois and three other Cold War-era ships would be retired.

The Iroquois was commissioned in 1972 and has served as one of Canada's most important warships.

On Friday morning, former crew members will have a chance to take one last tour of the ship.

An 86-metre pennant will be unrolled, passed through the hands of the Iroquois crew and down to the jetty to former sailors who served on the destroyer.

There will be a Sea King flyover and the ship will be given three cheers. Finally, the naval ensign and naval jack will be lowered.