The recent misconduct by Canadian sailors in San Diego that resulted in the abrupt return of their ship to home port involves allegations of drunkenness and sexual misconduct, say Royal Canadian Navy sources.
The navy remains officially silent on the nature of the incidents as it tries to determine what it can legally tell the public.
In a rare move, navy commander Vice-Admiral Mark Norman ordered HMCS Whitehorse to return three weeks early from an international naval exercise in the United States because of misconduct by some of its crew. The ship arrived back at its port at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C. on Monday.
HMCS Whitehorse is a maritime coastal defence vessel largely crewed by reservists.
Navy sources say the incidents didn’t involve sexual assault or other serious crimes. They note that the military’s National Investigation Service is not investigating. It is called in during serious incidents.
But Norman is concerned about a number of “behavioural” incidents throughout the navy and he wanted to act now to send a strong message to all sailors before the situation got worse, the sources added.
Concerns have been raised by some in the navy about excessive drinking during shore leave.
Norman issued a message Monday to explain his recall of HMCS Whitehorse from Exercise RIMPAC 2014. He cited three incidents involving the Whitehorse crew during the ship’s visit to San Diego, but did not provide details.
One incident involved the arrest of a Whitehorse crew member by police in San Diego, navy sources said. That individual has been released. The three incidents are not related and took place over a number of days.
“The Commander of the RCN has lost confidence in the ship’s ability to meet its current mission due to personal misconduct while in port,” the navy noted in a statement.
SOURCE: David Pugliese