April 13, 2020 (Google Translation) – On Tuesday April 6, the patrol boat Fulmar of the French Navy left Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon for a deployment, rather rare, to Lake Ontario where a Canadian exercise of Search and Rescue at sea will be conducted ( Search and Rescue – SAR).
After patrolling the French Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Fulmar began its ascent towards the St. Lawrence on April 8. The Fulmar sailed in the channels of the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. The pilots took turns to guide the vessel and thus avoid the dangers. Like currents, which can reach up to seven knots, shallows are so many traps that only pilots can fully understand. In these waters also crisscrossed by Canadian Coast Guard ships, the French patroller successively crossed the cities of Quebec, Trois-Rivière and then Montreal.
In order to ensure the safe operation of the vessel during whole days of channeling, the eleven sailors of the Fulmar were mobilized in order to maintain maximum attention. Thus, the broadsides must get up every four or six hours on the gangway, on the machine and on the foredeck to watch, monitor the propulsion and react urgently to the slightest detection of damage. The commander and the second in command also take turns supervising the maneuver.
On April 9 at the end of the day, the Fulmar arrived in Montreal for an inspection. The latter is required before proceeding to the sea (the seaway ), another system of locks, canals and river channels that lead to the Great Lakes. Its purpose is to verify that all safety standards on board are respected and that navigation or maneuvering equipment is functional.
The Fulmar successfully passed the “exam”: the inspector returned the precious sesame which made it possible to embark a new pilot and set off again in the direction of the first locks upstream of Montreal.
After waiting at anchor in Montreal, the patrol boat crossed the city on the St. Lawrence River. Then, he embarked the seaway in the direction of Toronto, passing the Saint-Lambert lock, which marks the entrance. Subsequently, the crew was called back to the deck due to the delicacy of the maneuver. The locks followed one another: Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Beauharnois, Snell, Eisenhower and finally Iroquois. Each lock crossing was very fast. In about twenty minutes, the ship had entered, raised and then emerged to make room for others!
On April 12, the Fulmar docked in Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, ready to cooperate with Canadian assets during a major search and rescue exercise: Mission accomplished!