Submarine closes in on operational status

HMCS Victoria conducting surface training, testing at sea

The crew emerges from the conning tower of HMCS Victoria as it cuts through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on its way to CFB Esquimalt in 2003. The submarine was the first sub permanently based on the West Coast since 1974.

Canada’s lone working submarine is now at sea.

By the time it returns to its dockyard jetty at CFB Esquimalt later this week, it will have spent two weeks cutting through Canadian and American waters to test its equipment and train its crew.

“This is an important milestone, particularly for all the people that have been working on her since summer 2005 to get her ready to this level, and everyone should be very proud of that,” said navy Capt. Luc Cassivi, deputy commander of the ships and submarines that make up Canada’s Pacific naval fleet.

“But we’re just starting to kick the tires, so as important as this milestone is I think really the crucial one is once we’ve completed all the trials and certification of the crew,” said Cassivi, who has commanded three out of four of Canada’s submarines, including Victoria in 2004. “That’s going to be mission accomplished for the entire team.”

Canada’s flagship submarine is scheduled to become fully weaponized and operational in 2012, bringing an end to a seven-year overhaul. The boat is expected to return to the shop for a two-year routine maintenance period in 2016.

On Dec. 5, Victoria, captained by Cmdr. Christopher Ellis, left for nearby Constance Bank with two civilian maintenance experts onboard as well as an eight-member naval submarine sea training team from Halifax, which spent last week training the 49-member crew in surface navigation.

“In the early stages we try not to go too far because as you start running the equipment you may have a few more problems than you expected, so it’s good to stay close by,” said Cassivi, a Vic West resident.

With assistance from a Sea King helicopter, the crew also practised evacuation procedures.

The diesel-electric vessel is spending this week sailing to different locations, including Bangor, Wash., where Victoria will have its magnetic field reduced so that it can’t be detected underwater and to protect it from mines.

Training and testing are expected to ramp up in the new year, with dives in January followed by weapons testing at the military’s experimental test range in Nanoose Bay.

That will be one of the last steps before it is declared fully operational, capping off more than a year of significant milestones. In April, it left drydock after five years, and despite suffering a fire in September, Victoria successfully conducted test dives in Esquimalt harbour.

“It’s reverse engineering in a way,” Cassivi said of the effort required to overhaul and modernize the vessel, one of four purchased from England. “We had to learn how to maintain it. We’re not the ones who built it so it takes a little bit more time.”

 

 

Just Posted

Mary Winspear offers out-of-this-world evening with Chris Hadfield

Tickets on sale March 22 for Colonel Chris Hadfield visit May 7

Metchosin driver striking a deer heralds a need for caution

Vehicle incident likely not the last of its kind in Greater Victoria

Victoria HarbourCats give away funeral to lucky fan

Just in case you die of excitment, all the bases are covered

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read