January 14, 2021 – HMCS Vancouver has entered the final phase of a lengthy and extensive refit.
The frigate’s extended work period started at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards nearly two years ago. It was returned to the Navy November 16, 2020, when commanding officer, Lieutenant-Commander Matthew Arthur, and approximately 30 crewmembers took possession of the ship from the Government of Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister Materiel.
However, the extended work period isn’t completed quite yet.
The restoring process is now under way with ship’s staff and contractors returning supplies, equipment and furnishings to the ship.
After the extended refit period is complete in May 2021, warship and crew will conduct basic single-ship readiness training during the summer.
“Moving forward, we also hope to commence sea trials in autumn of next year,” said Arthur. “Then next up in the spring of 2022, Vancouver is scheduled to complete intermediate multi-ship readiness training with an eye towards high readiness in the summer of that year.”
The refit of the Navy’s 12 frigates ensures they remain the backbone of the Fleet until the delivery of the new Canadian Surface Combatants.
“It also ensures our ability to defend Canadian sovereignty, project Canada’s foreign policy, and aid civil power and law enforcement including fishery, shipping, search and rescue, and border protection,” said LCdr Arthur.
The lion’s share of the work was completed by Seaspan Victoria Shipyard, but ship’s staff and Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton workers also worked on the ship over its two years in refit.
There were numerous hull and deck plate replacements, including large sections of the hull below the waterline in the ship’s engine room. Also, a full cleaning of the ventilation system was completed and an entire refurbishment of its low-pressure air system. Repairs were made to the rudder and rudder post, and to cracks that had developed in the air intake for the ship’s gas turbine engines following initial repairs to the engines.
New technological upgrades were also installed. Vancouver is now equipped with the new Naval Remote Weapons System. This system offers remote firing capability of .50 calibre and 7.62 mm rounds, eliminating the need for a sailor to be outside at the ship’s mounts if it comes under attack.
Also installed were new Caterpillar diesel generators, a new chilled water system and an update to the ship’s Integrated Platform Management System.
Finally, much of the ship’s non-combat equipment was updated, including toilets, storage racks, mattresses and refrigerators.