On April 15, 2024, Esquimalt, British Columbia witnessed the arrival of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Max Bernays to its new homeport. As the inaugural Harry DeWolf-class vessel to permanently join Canada’s Pacific Fleet, this marks a significant stride in the Royal Canadian Navy’s expansion of its Arctic and Offshore Patrol fleet.

Constructed by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, HMCS Max Bernays was successfully launched into the water on October 23, 2021. The ship’s delivery ceremony ensued on September 2, 2022, culminating in its journey to the West Coast, where it will now call Esquimalt its home.

“Welcoming a new ship is a significant and historical moment. I am extremely proud of the ship’s crew and their Commanding Officer, not only for their dedication during months of preparation but also their recent efforts to bring their ship all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. This class of ship has already demonstrated significant capabilities and will allow the Navy to expand its presence and capabilities in waters off the west coast and around the globe,” offered Rear-Admiral Christopher Robinson, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific.

The introduction of HMCS Max Bernays to Maritime Forces Pacific represents a pivotal juncture, bolstering the Navy’s capability to uphold sovereignty in the western Canadian waters while preparing to confront future defense challenges in the North. These versatile vessels are poised to play a central role in augmenting Canada’s Arctic presence, strategically complementing the surveillance operations conducted by both present and forthcoming warships.

It is noteworthy that HMCS Max Bernays is not only the first ship of the Harry DeWolf-class attached to Canada’s Pacific Fleet but also paves the way for the future HMCS Robert Hampton Gray, which will eventually follow suit in transferring between coasts. This strategic maneuver underscores Canada’s commitment to fortifying its maritime presence on both the Atlantic and Pacific fronts.

In early May, HMCS Max Bernays is slated to be formally commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at an official ceremony in North Vancouver, commemorating its entry into active service. Named in honor of Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, a Canadian naval hero who served as the Coxswain of HMCS Assiniboine during the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic, the vessel embodies a legacy of courage and valor.

All currently serving members of the Harry DeWolf-class are well-equipped to provide armed presence and conduct a myriad of operations, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, emergency response, and disaster relief, both domestically and abroad. As HMCS Max Bernays settles into its new surroundings, it symbolizes the dedication and expertise of the sailors who will operate it, ensuring that Canada’s maritime sovereignty remains steadfast and secure for generations to come.

“Our arrival in Esquimalt was made possible thanks to the diligent effort and hard work done by the crew of HMCS Max Bernays. The combined east and west coast ship’s company has been working side by side for many months preparing for this coastal transfer, while also building the ship knowledge of all sailors to a new class of ship. Today’s significance is not lost on our sailors – HMCS Max Bernays has finally joined Canada’s Pacific fleet. For those serving onboard this amazing ship, this is an incredibly exciting day,” experessed Commander Collin Forsberg, Commanding Officer of HMCS Max Bernays.