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

All Kootenay Boundary parks and outdoor facilities closed

RDKB reminds all residents the shutdown is for public safety and in response to COVID-19

Trail police investigating early morning brush fire

Call of trees on fire came into Kootenay Boundary fire department just before 1:30 a.m.

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Pandemic has Trail council re-considering budget, tax increase

Coronavirus changes forecast, city leaders deciding what changes to make in 2020

West Kootenay octogenarian helping develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Peter Brockley is working with his doctor son, Graham, to develop the unit that could save lives

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read