HALIFAX -- A Royal Canadian Navy frigate has been forced back to port after an internal engine oil leak.

HMCS Halifax was slated to take part in an operation in the Mediterranean Sea off central and eastern Europe for six months.

However, a spokesman for Maritime Forces Atlantic says a leak of an unspecified quantity of oil occurred on Sunday as the vessel was finishing trials before proceeding to its mission.

Maj. Mark Gough says the crew was conducting a planned high speed trial to test recent repairs on their engines.

He says during the test, oil started coming out from around a seal on a gas turbine gearbox.

Gough says that due to the risk of more oil leaking into high-temperature areas, the commander decided to return to Halifax to replace the seal before the ship returns to duty.

Maintenance technicians were working Wednesday with the crew to complete repairs over the next few days and the frigate is then expected to head to the Mediterranean.