HMCS Harry DeWolf, the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship of the navy, could not carry out exercises in August in the far north owing to the failure of the leading diesel generators, crucial for its propulsion system. The Royal Canadian Navy hopes to have it back in operation in November 2022.
HMCS Harry DeWolf, on 15 August, departed from Halifax for Operation Nanook activity, but one of the vessel’s four main diesel generators was not operating. Several days later, when it was off the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, another of the leading diesel generators malfunctioned, compelling it to return to Halifax.
Rudee Gaudet, the Navy Lt., highlighted in an email that the technicians discovered that a coolant leak in two diesel generators had led to the issue. HMCS Harry DeWolf will now enter a pre-scheduled maintenance phase that will run until October end, and the generator repairs will be done then, she specified.
The vessel is expected back to conduct force-generation actions in November and early December, Gaudet mentioned.
The failure of the leading diesel generators is the latest in a series of mechanical issues HMCS Harry DeWolf encountered. The vessel was to have joined in on Operation Nanook in early August but was left at the port as the fire suppression system was not operating correctly. Sailors reported that the system had been out of service for nearly a month.
After the fire suppression system was fixed, HMCS Harry DeWolf departed from Halifax, but the generator issues started.
The Royal Canadian Navy mentioned that the failure was an “isolated incident.”
But, in 2020 (October), the Canadian Press informed HMCS that Harry DeWolf was compelled to return to port after the communications systems and freshwater generator reportedly failed. When the vessel was docked, the crew members also found cooling pumps on two of the vessel’s four diesel generators had also broken.
LCdr Brian Owens mentioned in an emailed statement that mechanical problems arise from time to time” in the navy’s ships, and HMCS Harry DeWolf was serving Canada exceptionally well from the time it was delivered back in 2020.
Over the years, the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) mission has encountered delays and increases in spending. Following the original timetable, the first-ever AOPS was delivered in 2013, with Arctic operations starting in 2015.
But the first vessel, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was not delivered to Canada until 2020 (July).
In 2015 (January), the federal government declared that it had awarded Irving Shipbuilding a contract worth $2.6 billion to construct five AOPS. In 2018, the deal was expanded to include a sixth vessel. National Defence lists the assignment costing taxpayers more than about $4.3 billion.
In 2017, the Senate Defence Committee raised some concerns regarding the vessels’ capabilities.
The concerns arise as the vessels cannot function in ice more than a meter thick, are slower than a BC Ferry, can only function from June to October in the Arctic, and require a Coast Guard escort when they are in the northern waters of the senators highlighted. The limitations are troubling and raise the question of whether taxpayers are receiving value for monies spent.
Federal bureaucrats in the past have been sensitive regarding any news coverage of AOPS problems. In 2019 (March), officials associated with Public Services and Procurement and National Defence in Canada warned Irving this newspaper was asking questions about issues with welds on the AOPS. Irving threatened this newspaper with legal action.
However, National Defence later confirmed minor problems with welding the AOPS, and the article was published. A lawsuit had not been filed.
References: Northern News, Vancouver Sun
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