News release

HMCS Halifax Joins Operation Persistence

The Canadian navy frigate HMCS Halifax will depart the navy dockyard tomorrow at 1 p.m., to relieve the naval supply vessel HMCS Preserver as command and control ship for Operation Persistence.

HMCS Preserver, under the command of Commander Rick Town, has been on station in the accident area since the first few hours of the search. HMCS Preserver, a 28,000-tonne, 172 m replenishment and supply ship, carries a crew of 150 officers and non-commissioned members, and up to three Sea King helicopters.

The ship served as collection point for human remains, wreckage, personal belongings of passengers, and other important evidence. Most of the material has been delivered to the Transportation Safety Board investigation team in Shearwater by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Earl Grey. Any remaining evidence still on board will be transferred to Shearwater upon the ship's arrival.

The crew of HMCS Preserver, who have worked tirelessly under arduous and emotionally taxing conditions since early Thursday morning, have received support from professional Critical Incident Stress Team personnel, and will continue to receive this support for as long as it is required.

HMCS Halifax, commanded by Commander Greg Aikens, has a crew of 230, and can carry one Sea King helicopter. It displaces 4700 tonnes and is capable of extended operations in the crash area. Commander Aikens has already visited the scene of the recovery operations to receive briefings on his ship's upcoming mission.

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Contact:

Major Tim Dunne
Media Coordination Centre 902-429-7133
sab                       Sept. 9, 1998           10:30 p.m.