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Breaking News: Canadian sub in distress

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Postby Novagator » Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:24 pm

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/041005/1/3nk9j.html

I hope they save everyone.
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Postby Bob the Builder » Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:51 pm

Like they say... "It isn't mine til I take delivery." This is the former "Upholder" on it's way back to Canada for refit. None of the upgrades or repairs that the others have seen have taken place yet.

I'm hoping the UK sent along a good supply of paddles and flashlights. Oh.. and some freeze-dried rations, too. It'll be a long trip home with no stoves to cook on...
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Postby Novagator » Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:45 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/05/uk.canadian.sub/index.html

LONDON, England -- Britain launched a rescue operation to recover the crew of a Canadian submarine after a fire on board the vessel in the Atlantic, the UK Ministry of Defense says.

The ministry said the British Coast Guard received a mayday call Tuesday morning from the HMCS Chicoutimi, a diesel-powered submarine, saying there was a fire on board.

Three people have been injured, none seriously, the ministry said.

Three ships are on the way to the submarine, which is about 100 miles northwest of Ireland, to pick up the 48-member crew. The ships are expected to arrive Wednesday morning.


an update
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Postby Dolphin » Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:34 pm

Chicoutimi was (is) the last Upholder to be transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy scheduled in the fall of 2004. I wonder if she suffered this casualty while training and crew familiarization? The Irish Sea is off Barrow-in-Furness. Many news sources are posting with text stock images of Oberons, which is incorrect. Serious stuff, but it could have been far worse. No fatalites and 'the boat' was not lost.

Back from Alaska. It was wonderful!

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Postby bcliffe » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:44 am

Steve,

Actually HMCS Chicoutimi (ex HMS Upholder) had just been transferred to Canada last weekend and was on it's way home to Halifax when the fire broke out. She may be a jinxed boat.

Incidents as HMS Upholder
- flooded engineering department on sea trials (I think you told me about this one, was it the Upholder?)

Incidents as HMCS Chicoutimi
- grounded an ocean going tug that was sub-sitting while doing workups
- fire and loss of power on journey home

Fingers cross that the crew isn't to badly bruised bobbing around in 8 meter swells waiting for help to get there.

Cheers
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Postby Bob the Builder » Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:49 am

Turns out that one of the brave sailors aboard has died of complications with smoke inhalation.

Complete story here:

Canadian Submarine Death
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Postby FX Models » Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:12 pm

Update on this story:

I found out today that US rescue forces went out to meet the sub and took part in rescue efforts.

Further, three sailors were taken from the boat, one of whom has already died (Seaman Saunders age 32) and the other two of whom are in critical condition.

Currently the boat is under tow by the British Ocean Going Tub, Anglican Prince, and will probably arrive back in Britain on Sunday. This was the maiden voyage of the boat as a CANADIAN boat. It was an old Upholder class boat that was fraught with many leaks and other problems prior to sale to Canada.

The fire which struck the boat started in the Captain's cabin and spread to the electrical room encompassing two platforms [floors] in the submarine. At first this fire was reported to be 'minor' but it turned out to be anything but and the Canadian Navy quickly upgraded the severity of the disaster to what it ought to be. The boat currently has NO power, is subject to wave actions under tow, and still has crewmembers aboard. It is cold and there is no heat on board. The crew are using blankets to keep warm and that is all.

Thats what I know as fact for now...

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Postby bcliffe » Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:16 am

Marc,

Just a small correction. The fire is suspected to have started in the wiring "beneath" the Captain's cabin.

As a Canadian it frustrates me to hear how the media is picking up the term 2nd hand, 2nd rate submarines. It seems to escape peoples notice that a submarine is one of them most complex engineering vehicles around, and typically there are problems associated with that.

Regardless what the source of the fire was, I think it is a testament to how the crew re-acted in the situation presented to them. My heart felt condolences goes out to the Saunders family, and I suspect Chris's actions fighting the fire helped save his crewmates.

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Postby FX Models » Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:43 am

HI BC,
Thanks for the correction... yes I probably missed that detail.

Regarding your comment about 2nd hand/2nd rate, the media does tend to sensationalize a bit but in this particular case, for this particular boat, it was definitely a problem boat prior to sale. It had a flooded engineering space in one prior accident and quite a number of leaks and other fairly major issues that befell it during its service prior to being refurbished and sold to the Canadians. In my opinion this boat was not properly prepared for recommissioning. If you look at the British lawmakers' web sites you see that fingers are pointing at each other at a frantic pace to assign blame for this tragedy. They realize they are at fault.

I do believe the media ALWAYS blows things out of proportion for ratings of course...

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Postby Bob the Builder » Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:57 am

I think I read today that Australia was, at one time, looking at the Upholders for their submarine fleet. They decided against it and implemented their own design and construction process at the cost of over $5 billion.

I wonder if our Canadian government ever paused to ask "why"?

The $750 million that Canada paid for the Upholders seemed like a good price at the time, and I feel that it still is. The Victoria is based out of Esquimalt, a stone's throw from my house, so I've got particular attachment to her. After refit, she's as fit as she can be, and currently undergoing sea trials just offshore. She now houses some of the most technologically advanced submarine systems in the world, and will be an asset to the Canadian Navy.

Most of the backlash against these subs is coming from the Government's opposition party, who are blasting the Liberals for spending $750 million on these subs. They just latch onto anything and everything that happens in an attempt to discredit the government and earn kudos for their own party. It's pretty petty stuff.

The fire was a tragic accident, but it was just that.. and accident. It could have happened on any vessel. My utmost respect and admiration go out to the sailors on the sub for the manner in which they are handling the situation.

Last I heard, auxilliary power had been restored, which is allowing back some rudimentary rudder control, life support, and boat stabilization systems.
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Postby Slats » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:54 pm

On the subject of Australia considering Upholders, the primary reason why we did not pick them up was not beacuse we considered them second rate, but due to the Labor Government in power at the time's decision to go with a tender to ensure maximum local employment capabilities in Australia.
It is interesting to note that the media here in Australia, cited the Collins class as duds very loudly, so far that the Australian public has an ongoing perception that the class is overpriced crap. The media has been slow to recongnise that the Collins is now a very capable sub, defeating on exercise recently two, that's right two, Improved LAs. The success has lead to a squable btw the Australian Government and SAAB over sharing intellictual property rights with our biggest allies, namely the US. The media did report this squable, but did not of course say why the US was so interested, i.e. interested as the subs are now bloody good, interested as the US will probably end up building conventionally powered subs for Taiwan.
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Postby Dolphin » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:13 am

This is true, the Upholders were not passed over as second rate. Hardly! Australia wished to develop it's own submarine building and support infrastructure programs by building most if not all the Collins class components at home.... based on proven Swedish design. The Collins class is very formidable, and has embarrassed our American SSN's far too often in exercises both in the Pacific and in the far east/mid-east.

The Upholders are excellent submarines in design too. In the 1970/80's when the Upholder class was designed...it was a challenge to begin a completely new diesel submarine design with constructors (VSEL, now VSEL/Marconi) that were geared for nuclear vessel series construction. This should be a note for the future should the United States ever build conventional powered submarines either for itself or foreign costumers again. The Royal Navy had some early problems with the first boat, Upholder herself. These were ironed out ....redesign of the Upholders torpedo shutters. Also there were some glitches with much of the new automation aboard the Upholders. Reprogramming in adequate time delays in the computers when going from full ahead to full astern so relays were not blown and the boat losing propulsion at a critical moment. Common knowledge to the engineers...but to the software programers? These too were corrected. The Upholders are essentially equivalent to the Trafalgar class in their sensor suite. First class subs.

Could the faults to the recent stricken Canadian submarine be due to a shortage of experienced workers and inspectors perhaps at the refit yard ......while at the same time they were also urgently required for new construction too - the new Astute class?

Very sad to read of the fatality.

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Postby David H » Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:34 am

G'day

Our Navy (RAN) did look at the Upholders as a possibility to replace our aging Oberons, however the serious contenders were Kockums , HDW , TNSW and the Dutch.

The Hawke government went ahead with the Decision to purchase a Kockums design in the mid 1980's ,well before the Upholders were decommissioned.

Our Subs, (The Collins class) are simply a heavily modified Gotland class boat. They were redesigned to fit the needs of the RAN.

There has been alot of negative media here in Australia about problems with the boats. They have had problems but there is also a lot of conflicting infomation about their capabilities.

They are confident that when the problems are fixed they will be very good boats indeed.

dave h :)
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Postby Slats » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:04 am

David,
they have been fixed. See Steve Reichmuth's post and mine. A boat still with problems could hardly have defeated the LAs that have been knocked out in exercises.
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Postby David H » Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:05 am

Hey john,

I've built a Gotland, using jim russells x-fin mechanicla set up,

regards,

David H :)
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