Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HMCS Windsor and other navy news

1. HMCS Windsor

When HMCS Windsor put to sea yesterday (see photo) it represented the culmination of a huge refit program conducted by HMCS Cape Scott, the navy's repair arm in HMC Dockyard. The sub entered the Extended Docking Work Period  (EDWP) in 2007 and was expected to emerge in 2009. However virtually every one of the 200 systems aboard the boat required extensive work, and was not until April of 2012 that the sub re-entered the water. The work period ended officially December 13 and last weekend Windsor could be seen in Bedford Basin on the start of work-ups and trials, which include crew certification.
The sub will be fully operational during 2013, possibly as early as the first quarter.
Meanwhile on the west coast, HMCS Victoria is operational, HMCS Corner Brook will start its Extended Docking, with repair to grounding damage in 2013, and HMCS Chicoutimi will be assessed for fire damage and begin its rebuilding in 2013.
It had always been the intention to have two subs operational, one on each coast, and two in various stages of refit. The next EDWP for these subs will begin in 2016 and will extend to 2024, allowing about two years for each sub. By that  time of course we might be aware of more detailed plans for replacement. Discussion is underway, but it will be a long process to try and avoid some of the problems encountered with the acquisition of this class of subs. The long and sometimes sad story of the former Upholder class RN , and now Victoria class RCN subs is worthy of a much longer essay than I can give here. Suffice it to say however, that bringing Windsor back to service is a major milestone and achievement for the RCN.

2. HMCS Toronto ditto

After completing a very brief drydocking at Halifax Shipyard last week end HMCS Toronto has been preparing for its next assignment. This evening it headed for the Static Sound Range off Macnab's Island.  Range work is usually one of the last steps before the ship leaves port.

3. HMCS Preserver calls in civvy tug

HMCS Preserver arrived this evening from sea in gale conditions, with gusts of 40 knots and driving rain. Pilotage operations for commercial traffic were suspended by the Atlantic Pilotage Authority due to the weather, but this does not effect naval vessels who have their own berthing master/ docking pilots.
In view of the previous incident when Preserver allided with the Novadock floating drydock with extensive damage to both, the RCN called in the commercial tug Atlantic Larch to assist navy tugs to berth the ship at Jetty Hotel.
This underscores the need for new tugs in HMC Dockyard, and as reported lately in Tugfax http://tugfaxblogspotcom.blogspot.ca/2012/12/naval-large-tug-construction-project.html
 efforts are underway, or at least in their early stages, to acquire new tugs, with considerably more power, for events such as this.

4. HMCS Athabaskan

Meanwhile at Seaway Marine and Industrial in St.Catharines, ON, the tugs Ocean Delta and André H. have just departed (1930 AST) the shipyard with Athabaskan in tow for Halifax. Ocean Delta is the lead tug and will carry out the tow all the way to Halifax. It is not clear if André H. will come all the way. It may just assist with the Seaway Locks and river as far as the Cap-aux-Oies area. However with such an important tow, it would seen prudent to have two tugs along all the way.

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