I love a story like this. Spending my 20s in a navy town, I was lucky enough to join in with a gang for a beer in the ship's mess once or twice. Good to see the spirit ingenuity reigns supreme after HMCS Fredericton got called away last year on a secret mission off Africa:
There was a run on cigarettes at the ship's canteen until all that was left was a stock of duty-free smokes, intended to be issued to sailors once back home under strict Canada Customs rules. The navy's anti-smoking rules forbid canteens from selling cheaper duty-free tobacco so as not to encourage smokers. To get around the restriction, the canteen operators simply tacked on an extra $33.75 per carton, the equivalent of Canadian tobacco duties.Here is the DND report on the actual action the crew of HMCS Fredericton were undertaking when they were earning their beer in fine form.
Ship officials considered turning over that extra cash to Canada Customs but decided against it, since federal regulations were silent on the matter. Instead, the profits were used to subsidize the cost of beer. "This is a solution that allowed us to adapt to the situation without breaking any regulation," says the report. The standard beer price is $1 a can in the ship's three messes, a price approved by the captain. But as supplies dried up during the tropical voyage, officials were forced to pay almost $2 a can in Ghana to restock. Hefty cigarette profits of about $2,500 more than offset the loss of $1 for every can of beer sold.