The Saga Of This Long-Busted Submarine Is An Example Of How Sad Canada’s Tiny Sub Fleet Is

The Royal Canadian Navy’s Victoria class diesel-electric submarine HMCS Corner Brook will be out of commission until at least next summer after a recent leak caused damage to the boat, which has already been undergoing maintenance for some six years. The plight of the Corner Brook in many ways reflects the at best disappointing service career of all four of the Victorias, which Canada first agreed to acquire second-hand from the United Kingdom more than two decades ago and that have spent far more time laid up than at sea.

The Canadian Department of Defense confirmed the leak aboard Corner Brook, which is presently at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia, on Dec. 21, 2020. The incident occurred during a test back in March by personnel from Babcock Canada, which has been under contract to support the Victoria class submarines since 2008.

“HMCS Corner Brook sustained damage while undertaking testing as part of the vessel’s ongoing deep maintenance,” Babcock President Mike Whalley also told The Canadian Press. “We continue to work closely with the government of Canada to ensure the deep maintenance and refit of HMCS Corner Brook is completed in the safest manner possible.”

As it stands now, the Corner Brook isn’t scheduled to return to service until at least June 2021. This is more than a year longer than the submarine’s overhaul, which began in 2014, was originally supposed to take.

The boat had already been largely out of commission after hitting the seabed off in the Nootka Sound during an exercise off Vancouver Island in the Pacific Ocean in 2011. An official inquiry subsequently blamed the incident on human error and there were concerns that the accident might have damaged the submarine’s pressure hull beyond repair.

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