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.

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.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read