Two commanding officers were removed from the HMCS Calgary. (Black Press Media file photo)

Navy officer dismissed after dismantling smoke detectors, encouraging smoking on HMCS Calgary

Commanding officer also replaced aboard HMCS Calgary

Two CFB Esquimalt officers from HMCS Calgary have been removed from their positions after failing to meet Royal Canadian Navy standards.

The two removals occurred in a similar time frame, after time on the same vessel, but are otherwise unrelated.

The first was the removal of the Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jonathan Kouwenberg, who was in charge of a recent sailing on HMCS Calgary. The trip down to California focused on training to prepare crews for two upcoming missions.

“HMCS Calgary recently completed readiness training in preparation for a deployment and was unable to achieve the level of readiness required,” said Commodore Angus Topshee, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific in an emailed statement. “It was assessed that new leadership, in the form of the Commanding Officer, would better allow the ship to achieve that level prior to the deployment this summer.”

ALSO READ: Navy vessel departs CFB Esquimalt for five-month mission

Kouwenberg was replaced by Cmdr. Alex Barlow, who took over on Jan. 20. Previously, Barlow was the Commanding Officer of HMCS Ottawa. Kouwenberg will continue to be employed and trained as a Naval Warfare Officer with no administrative action taken against him.

The second incident resulted in the dismissal of Lt.-Comdr. John Forbes, who was the executive officer on HMCS Calgary. Forbes faced a summary trial on Jan. 16 after it came to light that he had dismantled the smoke/heat detectors in the Wardroom so that he could smoke inside. Forbes also invited his subordinate officers to smoke with him.

“The actions of Lieutenant-Commander Forbes violated the trust placed upon him by the RCN [Royal Canadian Navy] as a member of HMCS Calgary’s command team,” Topshee said. “By virtue of his rank and position on board the ship, his actions encouraged subordinate officers to act against well-established rules.”

Forbes was charged with three counts of misconduct and fined $3,000, and was relieved of his position. Further administrative action is still being considered.

ALSO READ: No charges laid in reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt

“The impact to operations is anticipated to be minimal. The management of both events will take a few days to finalize, but once the incoming Commanding Officer is installed, operations will resume as scheduled,” Topshee said.

“In terms of morale and stability, there will be a period of transition. Building up morale and establishing trust between the command team and crew is therefore of the utmost importance during this time, and one of the top priorities of the incoming Commanding Officer.”

HMCS Calgary is set to deploy to the Asia-Pacific region on operations Projection and Neon from April to July.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CFB Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Illegal fishing, snowmobiling caught in Caribou-protected areas of northern B.C.

Closures are to support the recovery of caribou herds: BC Conservation Officer Service

Bailey’s celebrating 100 years of farming in B.C.

Vanderhoof farm received the Century Farm Award awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Alice in Wonderland Jr. coming to Vanderhoof this March

W.L. McLeod Elementary presents its 12th production

Mainly sunny Saturday, but cloudy weather in the forecast

Environment Canada weather report for the week of Feb. 24

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read