Technical Issues on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships

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November 7, 2018 – Over the past two weeks there have been a series of technical issues that have affected deployed Royal Canadian Navy ships. Specifically there have been two fires in gas turbine enclosures, power failures, and a loss of propulsion.

The fact that there have been this many instances in such a short period of time is of significant concern to the Royal Canadian Navy. The safety of our personnel at sea is of primary importance. Simply put our sailors need to have confidence in the technical readiness of their ships.

Preliminary investigations into each of the incidents reveal that there is no conclusive evidence to link these events. These events have taken place in two separate classes of ships on both coasts. The technical community continues to investigate to determine if there are any systemic issues that may be attributed to these technical issues.

The fact that the ships’ companies were able to repair the defects at sea is a testimony to their tremendous training ‎and commitment to the successful completion of their mission.

HMCS Halifax

  • On 26 October, a fire broke out in the starboard gas turbine enclosure in the forward engine room of HMCS Halifax while the ship was deployed off the coast of Norway on EXERCISE TRIDENT JUNCTURE.
  • Upon discovery of the fire, the crew immediately engaged the fire suppression system and the fire was quickly extinguished.  No one was injured.  The fire had no impact on operations and HMCS Halifax was able to continue participating in EX TRIDENT JUNCTURE.  The engine has been repaired and is functioning normally.
  • Initial indications are that the fire onboard HMCS Halifax on 26 October was a result of a clogged drain in the engine enclosure, but again more will be confirmed when the investigation is complete.

HMCS Toronto

  • On 29 October, HMCS Toronto experienced a total loss of power while conducting operations and Anti-Ship Missile Defence training in the Hebrides Sea off the coast of the UK.  The ship was able to restore power and safely sail to Belfast.
  • Upon arrival in Belfast on 30 October a fire started in the starboard gas turbine enclosure in the forward engine room, the same location as the fire onboard HMCS Halifax.  In the same fashion as the other fire, the crew immediately engaged the fire suppression system and the fire was quickly extinguished.  No one was injured.
  • The crew repaired the power issue and HMCS Toronto returned to sea to continue the mission, successfully completing its missile shoot on 1 November.
  • At this point, initial indications are that the cause of the fire on HMCS Toronto was due to a tank overflow.  The ship is returning to Halifax as planned and while the engine is functional, it is being kept in reserve while the investigation concludes.

HMCS Edmonton

  • On 5 November, HMCS Edmonton was conducting routine operations at sea on Operation CARIBBE in the eastern Pacific Ocean when it experienced a short loss of electrical power.   The crew immediately responded to the situation and were able to bring power back in less than a minute.  When power was restored it was discovered that the electronic control of the propulsion system had not come back on line.  Eventually it was determined that two blown fuses were the cause of the propulsion failure.
  • HMCS Edmonton and its crew are safe and no one was injured.  It is expected that the ship will return to its mission shortly.
  • The issue with HMCS Edmonton is not related to the other incidents as it is a different class of ship and therefore has different types of equipment onboard.

All photos official US Navy