Navy submarine suffers damage after test

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Navy submarine suffers damage to ballast after errant test

During an errant test last year, a navy submarine suffered permanent damage to its ballast. The submarine, one of Canada’s four, is the HMCS Corner Brook. This submarine also spent time docked for repairs after striking the bottom of the ocean in 2011. According to an internal Defence Department report, this is yet another setback for Canadian submarines.

The report tells that the test consisted of filling water and air to Corner Brook’s main ballast tanks. This usually aims to apply the required test pressure. Afterward, the test team would have drained the tank through gravity. Unfortunately, members of the team attempted to hasten the process by using pressure again to drain the tank. This over-pressurized the tank and caused it to rupture, as the report states.

The report, moreover, highlights how damage is likely unrepairable. ‘A full repair of the damage is impractical and would not be economical’, the report reads. The Defence Department still believes that the new repairs and upgrades make the Corner Brook operable for at least another nine years.

Troy Crosby, the assistant deputy minister at the Department of National Defence, stated that when the submarine goes to the sea it will be “safe and fit for purpose”. Nonetheless, he remarked that there will still be constant monitoring of the watercraft. Also, there are lingering doubts about whether there will be limitations placed on the submarine. For example, the Canadian military has imposed restrictions on flying Cyclone helicopters after concerns over safety.

The long-running saga of HMCS Corner Brooke sparked investigative reports from military aficionados and engaged citizens. The common cause of concern (and, sometimes, derision) is the actual state of Canada’s fleet. Quietly acknowledging the issues, the Canadian navy expects to commence repairs and upgrades on HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor at once.