After Two Month Delay, Margaret Brooke Trials Updated

(Took two months for this news to be released July 29th)

The future HMCS Margaret Brooke returned to her homeport of Halifax on May 26 after nearly a month at sea for warm weather trials.

The trials are part of the ship’s post-acceptance program to demonstrate that the ship can operate safely in both the icy Arctic waters and the warm southern seas.

“We were seeking air temperatures at a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius and a sea water temperature of 29 degrees Celsius. So we knew we had to go south,” explained Lieutenant Jennifer Grant RCN, Information Management Officer with Margaret Brooke. “The question was how far south did we need to go?”

After closely examining weather conditions to construct a sailing plan, the trials were set to be conducted in the water off Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida.

Like the cold weather and ice trials, the warm weather trial program is designed to test ship systems in various conditions to determine the effectiveness of the ship’s ventilation and air cooling (HVAC) system to endure the humidity of warmer climates.

The ship fared well in the various trials, and the crew was able to identify minor issues, including one involving the converters operating at a high rpm (revolutions per minute), creating a domino effect with some other systems.

“When we were ramping the rpm for the shaft up, it increased the temperature in the engine spaces. That was handled adequately enough by our HVAC system, but the cooling of the converter was so fast that it created a risk of condensation, and the system — being as automated as it is — picks that up and sends it into an alarm that would then lock out the shafts,” explained Lt(N) Grant.

Master Sailor Matthew Keenan was part of the team that addressed the problem, reaching out to In-Service Support (ISS) and Irving Shipbuilding personnel to determine a solution.

“It’s those types of problem-solving issues that we’re testing because, obviously, we don’t want the system to go into red,” said Lt(N) Grant.

“That’s part of the purpose of the trial, to identify where we have those problematic things and how we — together with the contractor, ISS and FMF (Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott) — can approach it to either rectify the problem or tweak the system.”

As Senior Mechanical Specialist onboard Margaret Brooke, MS Keenan stays in touch with the mechanical and electrical managers to help determine what work needs to be done during the ship’s various work periods.

“I add my recommendations to the priority list for the items that need to be rectified sooner rather than later,” he said.

He’s also one of the few personnel holding an Engineering Watchkeeping qualification for the Harry DeWolf class. MS Keenan was commended for his hard work to arrange drills for junior personnel, liaising with the ship’s engineer and Naval Personnel and Training Group (NPTG).

Having more junior personnel working through engineering watchkeeping training for their ticket, made for more experience behind the chair when they sailed, said MS Keenan.

“Because we — as a team — pushed so hard, we were absolutely set up for success in the warm weather trials,” he said.

With these latest trials wrapped up, Margaret Brooke is a step closer to its commissioning, scheduled to take place this fall. The ship and crew will be keeping busy until then; after finishing a short work period they’ll be back to sea in late July, in preparation for Operation Nanook in August and September.

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