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Halifax Daily News: Fourth sub delayed by rust PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 08 September 2004 10:04
Rust is one of the major problems delaying the delivery of Canada?s fourth used submarine.

The British Defence Ministry also cannibalized HMCS Chicoutimi for parts in an attempt to get our other three subs working, according to documents obtained by The Daily News under the Access to Information Act.
By Chris Lambie

Rust is one of the major problems delaying the delivery of Canada?s fourth used submarine.

The British Defence Ministry also cannibalized HMCS Chicoutimi for parts in an attempt to get our other three subs working, according to documents obtained by The Daily News under the Access to Information Act.

?Chicoutimi has been in reactivation for in excess of four years now (only took five and a half years to build),? Cmdr. Brian Carter, head of the Canadian submarine detachment in England, said in an e-mail this summer.

?There have been a considerable number of setbacks.?

Delays were ?a direct result? of the corrosion discovered on Chicoutimi?s pressure hull as workers were getting the sub ready for duty, navy documents say.

Cracked hull valves and air turbine pumps also had to be replaced before Chicoutimi could return to sea.

?However, it has received far more work than the previous three boats and consequentially has the potential to be the most capable and reliable of them all,? Carter said.

Navy documents indicate the British Defence Ministry ?adopted the practice of removing spares from HMCS Chicoutimi? in an attempt to get HMCS Corner Brook ready for duty. That?s something the Canadian navy strongly denied was happening as recently as last week.

The British Defence Ministry admitted plundering Chicoutimi for parts would delay getting the sub ready for sea.

?Moreover, (the Brits) indicated that they may approach Canada for the loan of certain parts during HMCS Chicoutimi?s reactivation,? say navy documents.

Canada announced the purchase of used British subs in 1998. Three of them are now in Canada, though none is fully operational. The fourth, Chicoutimi, is slated to sail for Halifax next month ? three years later than originally expected.

In a June e-mail, Cmdr. Luc Pelletier said most of the known problems with the submarine had been fixed and the scheduled October departure date was realistic.

?The possible cripplers remain personnel and parts,? Pelletier said. ?However, I remain cautiously optimistic.?

Chicoutimi?s crew moved their personal belongings ? including bikes, cars, stereos and golf clubs ? back to Halifax this summer while on leave.

?When they return on (July 19), they will be living out of out of a suitcase without benefits of many of the creature comforts that they have enjoyed up until now,? say navy documents.

?This will make it more difficult to adjust to any new delays to the program.?

The tab for buying, fixing and refitting all four submarines is pushing $900 million ? though that cost is expected to rise due to delays.

The budget for spare parts and engineering support for the used subs has almost tripled since Canada agreed to buy the troubled vessels.

The figure has climbed to $241 million from the original $86-million, six-year contract signed with British company BAE Ltd. in 1998.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2004 10:04
 

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