Canadian navy investigates after fires, power outages hit ships around the world

The Royal Canadian Navy is continuing to investigate a series of technical issues that have occurred over the past two weeks hampering the deployment of three vessels around the globe.

The RCN says it does not believe there is “conclusive evidence” to link the events, but says it is concerned over the number of incidents that have occurred in such a short period of time.

“The safety and security of our sailors is paramount to everything we do and we are investigating each of these issues so that our sailors continue to have complete confidence in our ships and procedures,” Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the RCN, is quoted as saying in a press release on Wednesday.

The technical issues, which include fires in a vessel’s turbine, complete power failures and a loss of propulsion, have affected two classes of ships on separate coasts of Canada and waylaid 25 per cent of the 11 ships Canada has deployed around the world.

“Investigations into these technical issues will include examining pre-deployment checks and maintenance routines,” said Rear-Admiral Craig Baines in a press release.

“Although a challenge, the technical issues have had a minimal impact on operations; missiles were still fired, interdiction operations were completed, and the ships continued with their programs.”

The first incident occurred on Oct. 26 onboard HMCS Halifax, a Halifax-class frigate. A fire in the starboard gas turbine was reported while the ship was deployed off Norway.

Crew members quickly extinguished the fire and no one was injured in the incident. HMCS Halifax was able to continue participating in Exercise Trident Juncture, a NATO-led exercise.

An initial investigation has found the fire to be the result of a clogged drain in the engine enclosure but more will be confirmed when the full investigation is complete.

The RCN says the engine aboard HMCS Halifax has since been repaired and is functioning normally.

On Oct. 29, HMCS Toronto, another Halifax-class frigate, lost power while conducting anti-ship missile defence training off the coast of the United Kingdom.

The vessel was able to restore power and sail to Belfast. A day later, another fire to break out in the same location.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries occurred. The vessel successfully completed its training on Nov. 1 and personnel believe the fire was due to a tank overflow.

HMCS Toronto is currently returning to Halifax as planned.

Finally, the HMCS Edmonton, a coastal defence vessel, lost electrical power while in the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 5. The vessel was taking part in Operation CARRIBE, a U.S.-led operation targeting illegal trafficking.

The crew of HMCS Edmonton was able to restore power in less than a minute but it was quickly determined that two blown fuses would not allow sailors to bring electronic control of the propulsion system back online.

The RCN says it expects the ship to return to its mission shortly.

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