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Emotional goodbyes in Halifax as HMCS Montreal prepares to deploy overseas

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There were plenty of tears and lots of hugs as HMCS Montreal prepared to deploy on Operation Horizon in the Indo-Pacific.

The voyage was delayed slightly due to a "small mechanical issue" which was discovered Friday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Hawes hugs his daughter before deploying on Operation Horizon. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

"The sooner we get it started, the sooner we get home, so that's what we're looking forward to," said petty officer second class, Matthew Hawes.

Families made the most of their last moments together in Halifax Sunday before their loved ones take off for the next six months.

"I wasn't feeling that bad before until today, and it just kind of hit like a tonne of bricks," said Stephanie Rouillard-Tate, whose husband is being deployed.

It's not the first time her husband has been deployed, but she says it's always a tough day for her and her children, five-year-old Lucie, and 10-year-old Remington.

"A little anxiety, and I'm tired already and sad and nervous."

The Rouillard-Tate family shares a hug before the deployment of HMCS Montreal. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

Lieutenant Governor Arthur LeBlanc stopped by to see the crew off, and spend time with their families -- like the Gelsingers, who are familiar with days like this.

"He has left, but the longest time he's left was three months," said Jacob Gelsinger, whose dad is being deployed.

HMCS Montreal is the first of three ships to deploy on Operation Horizon.

Lieutenant Governor Arthur LeBlanc meets with the Gelsinger family. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

"In support of the government's Indo-Pacific Strategy, we're deploying ships from both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets to that region," said commodore Trevor MacLean, commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic.

The crew of approximately 250 was supposed to take off Sunday morning, but repair work was needed first.

"What we do routinely if something breaks, we'll ship parts overseas, fix it there, but rather than do that, it just makes the most sense to fix it here, spend a few extra hours alongside, then get underway once that repair is complete," said MacLean.

The crew was scheduled to remain on board for training until their departure.

Maritime Forces Atlantic says HMCS Montreal left the Halifax Harbour at 7 p.m. Sunday. 

The crew is expected to return home in October.

"I just want to be home in time for Halloween for my daughter," said Hawes.

"I told her we'd try to do matching outfits, so we'll see."

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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