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Salior Dies

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OTTAWA - A Canadian officer injured in Tuesday's fire aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi has died while being transferred to hospital in Ireland.

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Damn, that is horrible. I am sorry to hear about this...

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Poor guy! I feel so sorry for his family!

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My smpathies to his family

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Here's a UK report on this issue:

Crewman dies after submarine fire

A crewman has died after being injured in a fire on a Canadian submarine which has left it drifting in the Atlantic.

Lt Chris Saunders was one of three men flown to hospital in the Irish Republic from HMCS Chicoutimi on Wednesday. The others are said to be stable.

A tug has joined two Royal Navy ships trying to rescue the submarine, which still has 54 crew members on board.

Another tug is due to arrive later but bad weather means it might be Friday before the submarine can be towed.

Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin paid tribute to Lt Saunders, 32, a married father of two, saying he "gave his life serving his country and we owe his family our deepest condolences".

The combat systems engineer was one of nine crew members who had suffered from smoke inhalation during the fire on Tuesday afternoon.

A Royal Navy helicopter was flying three men to Londonderry in Northern Ireland, but had to divert to Sligo in the Irish Republic when Lt Saunders's condition deteriorated.

"A medical decision based on his condition was taken to put down in Sligo," a spokesman said. "The helicopter landed as quickly as it could."

The remaining crew are said to be in "good" health and a vessel carrying food, fuel and a medical team has reached the submarine.

It has no engine power and is drifting at a rate of one to two knots in a south-to-south-easterly direction 100 miles (160km) off Ireland's west coast.

The fire started in an electrical panel in a passageway in the HMCS Chicoutimi, which is not nuclear-powered or carrying nuclear warheads.


Formerly the HMS Upholder, the sub was renamed after a Quebec city

Type: Long-range diesel-electric patrol submarine

Displacement: 2,185 tons (surf.), 2,400 tons (sub.)

Length: 70.26 metres

Speed: 12 kts (surf.), 20 kts (sub.)

Patrol Endurance: approx 8 weeks

Complement: 48 crew, 5 trainees

Diving Depth: 200 metres

It was on its way back to Nova Scotia from the Scottish base of Faslane, after being sold by the Royal Navy and handed over on Saturday.

It is one of four submarines the Canadians have bought from the Royal Navy - all of which are said to have had technical difficulties.

If its engines cannot be restarted, it is likely to be towed back to Scotland.

But Irish Marine Minister Pat Gallagher has said the vessel has drifted south of Eagle Island off the Mayo coast, with the Irish search and rescue zone.

"If we get a formal request from the Canadian authorities we will immediately assess its stability, integrity and the welfare of the crew," he said.

"The ideal situation would be to tow it back to the Clyde, but I am advised that might not happen depending on the weather."

The first Royal Navy rescue ship, HMS Montrose, arrived at about 1330 BST on Wednesday, followed by the HMS Marlborough and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's Wave Knight - carrying food and fuel and with a medical team.

One tug, the Anglian Prince arrived on Thursday morning and a second, the Carolyn Chouest, is expected later, along with a small helicopter carrier HMS Argus.

But Lt Cdr Denise Laviolette, of the Canadian Navy, said it might be Friday before they could get a tow line to the submarine.

She said: "We still have six-to-eight metre waves and 35 knots winds - so it is still pretty much a gale."

The damage to the submarine is said to be more extensive than first thought.

Commander of the Canadian Atlantic fleet, Commodore Tyrone Pile, said two fires had broken out causing damage which had prevented them from restoring the submarine's power propulsion system.

"Significant damage" was also caused to the commanding officer's cabin and the electrical equipment room, on separate decks.

Captain Steve Upright, from the Faslane base, told BBC News 24 the submarine, formerly known as HMS Upholder, had been examined and declared fit before being handed over.

And Captain Finney said: "The early indications of the situation on board Chicoutimi [are] that the problem is nothing to do with any technical aspect, the design or build."

user posted image

Story from BBC NEWS:


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Daughter of the Nine Moons

My deepest sympathies to his family.

The Canadian government is at fault for this mans death for buying/leasing substandard subs. I hope his family sues thier asses off.

Toronto Star -Sub fire claims crewman

The Globe and Mail- Canadian submariner dies during rescue bid

The National Post- Sailor dies after airlift from Canadian submarine off coast of Ireland

Edited by Daughter of the Nine Moons

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Canada defends submarine fleet

Canada has defended its decision to buy second-hand submarines after a crewman died from injuries sustained on one of the vessels that had broken down.

The HMCS Chicoutimi was on its maiden voyage after being handed over to the Canadian navy when a fire broke out.

The Liberal government has been accused of ignoring a number of serious technical problems with four submarines it bought from Britain.

It says fire is a routine risk on all of the navy's ships and submarines.

'Good buy'

Prime Minister Paul Martin announced the sailor's death in parliament, which observed a moment of silence.

Earlier, his minority Liberal government was accused of wasting the C$900m ($595m) it has paid to buy and refurbish the submarines.

Described by the navy as a "good buy" in 2002, the vessels were bought for C$750m in 1998 after being decommissioned by the British navy when it decided to switch to an all-nuclear fleet.

All have been beset by problems and none are currently in commission.

As well as cracks, leaks and rusty valves, a report in the Times last month suggested that one of the submarines had "a dent the size of a large pizza".

The HMCS Chicoutimi is thought to have been stripped for parts in an attempt to get the three other submarines working.

"It's not the case we've just had a few problems. I think there's been some chronic problems with those submarines," said Bill Blaikie, an MP for the left-leaning New Democrats.

He said the vessels were "obviously inferior submarines", adding that "the government should be willing to be more honest with itself about what it got itself into".

"They wanted a military capability on the cheap. This is a pattern with the Liberals," opposition Conservative MP Gordon O'Connor, a retired army general, told reporters on Tuesday.


Defence Minister Bill Graham insisted that Canada did get value for money.

"There [are] always problems with machinery," he told parliament before the news of Lt Saunders' death.

"I don't think we should abandon a successful programme because we have a setback, however serious that may be," he added.

Chief of defence staff Gen Ray Henault also defended the government's decision to buy the vessels.

"Risk is what we deal with in the Canadian forces. And this does not, in any way, diminish the value of the submarines," Gen Henault said on Wednesday.

"This [fire] is something that can occur on any submarine, indeed any vessel, aircraft or vehicle that we have," he told a news conference.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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Daughter of the Nine Moons

Stranded sub plagued by corrosion

OTTAWA - The crippled Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi had so much rust on its hull that British officials recommended last year the vessel be restricted in how deep it could dive, according to Department of National Defence reports. Canadian navy officials confirmed yesterday they had put diving limitations on the sub.

Edited by Daughter of the Nine Moons

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Daughter of the Nine Moons

National Post- Cost overruns, technical woes have plagued used subs

Price to buy the four British vessels, initially pegged at $750-million, has jumped to $900-million


With reports from Jeff Sallot and Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- The secondhand submarines Canada bought in 1998 have been hit ever since with a steady flow of delays, cost overruns and mechanical problems, including leaks and a major fire yesterday.

Liberal ministers have always defended the purchase of the diesel-electric vessels as a bargain, while the military has not lost faith in the submarines that have been a constant cause of embarrassment.

But Conservative defence critic Gordon O'Connor said the government "has to invest substantial amounts of money [to upgrade the submarines] otherwise the lives of our sailors at sea are at risk."

Mr. O'Connor said the Liberal government thought it could get the submarines fully operational with minimal servicing, "but events have shown this is absolutely untrue."

The quartet of Victoria-class submarines were built for the British in the 1980s and 1990s, decommissioned, and then sold at a discount to the Canadian Forces in 1998.

The problems have been piling on ever since, as the submarines have had to be put back in shape and "Canadianized."

The cost of the purchase, initially pegged at $750-million, has jumped to $900-million. And while two of the submarines are sailing on the east and the west coasts, the overall program is running three years late. Through it all, the ships have drawn bad press and opposition attacks over leaks, cracked valves and dents.

Trying to put the best face on the fire on HMCS Chicoutimi, a military official said the navy is treating the incident as something that could happen on any ship -- military or civilian -- instead of another glitch with the submarines.

"This is not a systemic problem," the navy source said. "Submarines are not exempt from fires. We don't see this as another incident with the Victoria-class submarines, we see this as a fire on one of our ships."

The military is aware that the fire will fuel the negative perceptions surrounding the submarines. One of Canada's frigates, HMCS Ottawa, had a large fire last year, but the news didn't have nearly the same impact as yesterday's blaze.

"It was a significant incident," the navy source said, "but there's not the same level of cynicism toward the frigates as there is toward the submarines."

The fire on the Chicoutimi was a blow to the navy because it felt that the overall perception of the submarines was improving. The navy had recently received generally favourable press after taking groups of journalists to sea on the vessels.

"These submarines had turned the corner," the navy source said.

Most of the problems have been mechanical. The first challenge came from the fact that the diesel-electric vessels were mothballed after the British decided to switch to nuclear-powered ones, and their reactivation has been more complicated than anticipated.

Second, the submarines have had to be brought into line with the rest of Canada's fleet. But the process has been hampered by lack of funds and the start of the war against terrorism in 2001, which sucked away resources. As a result, the vessels have accumulated problems.

During HMCS Victoria's maiden voyage to its new home port of Esquimault, B.C., some equipment overheated due to a faulty ventilation system. HMCS Victoria had also been restricted to about 75 per cent of its 200-metre diving depth after a dent was discovered in its hull.

Last March, an error by a crew member on HMCS Windsor flooded the engine room during sea trials. On the same trip, the hydraulic system that raises and lowers masts malfunctioned. Hundreds of litres of water also spilled into HMCS Corner Brook during a training exercise in June.

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Submarine rescue gets under way

A rescue operation to retrieve a Canadian submarine adrift off Ireland's west coast is under way.

The salvage vessel Anglian Prince began towing HMCS Chicoutimi, which has more than 50 Canadian sailors on board, after waiting for improved weather.

A fire on Tuesday cut the vessel's power and gales hampered the rescue.

Three seriously injured men were winched to safety but one died and one of the others is "stable but critical" in hospital with smoke inhalation.

The Ministry of Defence said the motorised Anglian Prince was towing the Chicoutimi through the Atlantic at a speed of about three knots towards the Clyde area.

It is expected to reach its destination - which will be decided by the Canadian authorities on Friday - on Sunday.

Master Seaman Archibald MacMaster was in intensive care at Sligo General Hospital in the Irish Republic.

He suffered extensive lung damage and his condition was described as "critical, but stable".

His colleague, Petty Officer Denis Lafleur, was in a "stable" condition.

Lt Chris Saunders, 32, who was married with two children, died before he got to the hospital at Sligo, in the Irish Republic.

Commodore Tyrone Pile, of the Canadian Navy, said both of the injured men were exhausted and traumatised - especially by the loss of their shipmate.

He added that Mr Saunders' wife was being given "every form of assistance" to help her cope with the news that her husband had died.

A Canadian Navy spokesman told a press conference in Nova Scotia that spirits on board were good although there was "significant sorrow" over the loss of a ship mate.

Meanwhile, Canada's opposition parties have accused the government there of disregarding defence and buying "inferior submarines" on the cheap.

MPs have called for urgent inquiries into the purchase of UK submarines and a possible claim against Britain has been suggested.

Late arrival

HMCS Chicoutimi was on its way to Nova Scotia from the Royal Navy base at Faslane on the Clyde, after being sold to the Canadians by the Royal Navy, when the fire began.

At first it was thought the injuries and damage to the submarine were not serious - the first rescue vessel arrived nearly 24 hours later, hampered by "treacherous" weather.

There are as yet no plans to airlift the remaining 54 crew members from the submarine, where the fire has damaged the switchboard and electrical distribution system.

But efforts could be made to let them spend time on rescue vessels so they can get a hot shower, food and recuperate.

Two British tugs joined three Royal Navy vessels on Thursday.

Irish and American ships also joined the rescue effort, which now involves 400 people, and a Canadian patrol frigate is on its way to provide logistic and moral support.

Fuel and medical supplies had already reached the submarine.

HMCS Chicoutimi is one of four submarines the Canadians bought from the Royal Navy - all of which are said to have had technical difficulties.

Captain Steve Upright, from the Faslane base, told the BBC the submarine had been examined and declared fit before being handed over.

But Commodore Pile said it was too early to say what had caused the fire and a full investigation would be carried out.

It is not yet known which Scottish base HMCS Chicoutimi will be towed to.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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Yeah, thats a tragedy. He was from Newfoundland (like me) and they havn't released what town yet. I bet there are a lot of anxious people here trying to find that out.

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