Updated: Navy removes commanding officer and second in command of HMCS Calgary

Both the commanding officer of one of the Royal Canadian Navy’s frigates as well as his second-in-command have been removed from their positions just months before the warship is set to take on a new mission in the Pacific.

The commanding officer of HMCS Calgary was removed because of problems the warship’s crew were having in preparing for an upcoming deployment into the Asia Pacific.

The second-in-command was relieved of this duties after he was found guilty of misconduct for his actions in disabling the smoke and heat detectors in the ship’s wardroom so he could smoke. The disabling of those safety systems took place less than two weeks after a fire had broken out in the engine room of HMCS Calgary.

It is highly unusual to remove the leadership of a warship which is just months away from going out on new mission.

Cmdr. Alex Barlow has replaced Cmdr. Jonathan Kouwenberg as commander of the frigate based in Victoria, B.C. Kouwenberg had only become commanding officer of HMCS Calgary in July.

“A change of leadership was required to ensure that Calgary could attain the highest level of readiness prior to deploying in spring 2020,” the Royal Canadian Navy noted in a statement sent to this newspaper.