HMCS Toronto to Deploy to Arabian Sea

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto will deploy early this year until the fall of 2013 with a crew rotation during the deployment contributing to the multinational coalition fleet conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea region. HMCS Toronto has been undergoing extensive training in preparation for this deployment as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) and will replace HMCS Regina which has been in the region since August. HMCS Regina deployed to the Arabian Sea region with CTF- 150 in order to conduct maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and in the Indian Ocean.

“These deployments continue our strong tradition of making meaningful contributions to international security, and maintain our long-standing relationship of cooperation and interoperability with our allies,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “I thank the captain and the crew of HMCS Regina for their service, as well as their families, who endured their absence over the holidays.”

Canada’s contribution to CTF-150 is known as Operation Artemis. During this deployment, HMCS Toronto’s task will be to detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity by patrolling and conducting maritime security operations in her area of responsibility. Her presence in the Arabian Sea also gives Canada the flexibility and capability to respond quickly to emerging crises in the region.

“HMCS Toronto will carry-on the excellent work that has already been done by the Canadian Armed Forces’ during earlier contributions to CTF 150’s maritime security mission in South West Asia. The deployment of HMCS Toronto will allow us to continue working alongside our allies and partners to help contribute to international security in the region,” said General Tom Lawson, the Chief of the Defence Staff. “I am extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication shown by all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen who have served on our various missions in the region over the last decade.”

Canada is one of 26 nations that contribute naval assets to CTF-150 as part of international efforts to ensure security in the maritime environment of the Middle East.

“The deployment of HMCS Toronto demonstrates the Canadian Armed Forces’ capability to support our allies and gives Canada an opportunity to operate within a responsive international force,” said Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare, Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command. “This deployment also allows us to execute any number of missions across a broad spectrum of operations, including humanitarian assistance, counter-terrorism, regional military engagement, regional capacity building and international diplomacy.”

HMCS Toronto is a Halifax-based Canadian patrol frigate with a crew of approximately 225 personnel, and includes a CH-124 Sea King helicopter air detachment, as well as a shipboard unmanned aerial vehicle detachment. The frigate is commanded by Commander David Patchell.


Update on Athabaskan

I Spoke with Capt. Doug Keirstead of Marlant today.
He informed me a Engineering Assement team and a repair team were enroute to assess the ship, affect repairs and update the tow risk Assesment. Once the ship returns to Halifax, A more detailed survey will be completed.

Capt. Keirstead informed me that the priority is the safe return of the Vessel to Halifax. The Towing contract is the responsibility of Public Works, and they are evaluating options for the return tow.


Athabaskan tow troubles

Shipfax is reporting that the tow line parted today setting HMCS Athabaskan adrift of Scatrie Island, where the M/V Miner is grounded on shore.

Athabaskan was towed into Sydney by the backup tug Andre H, and is reported to be safe.
For more see shipfax http://shipfax.blogspot.ca/2012/12/hmcs-athabaskan-tow-in-trouble.html

Addtional update from shipfax – there may have been contact and Athabaskan has been damaged. Read more here and Here which has addtional photos of the damage.

UPDATE 01/01/13: I have received confirmation from a source that there are punctures on the port side of the hull, near the Numbers. Shipfax has the photos

UPDATE 02/01/13: Shipfax is reporting Atlantic Towing will be completing the tow and has tugs in Sydney. They have a good synopsis here

CBC news is reportingThe Iroquois-class destroyer, which is currently docked in North Sydney, has at least seven holes in its hull along with several dents and scrapes. It also appears the ship’s frame may be warped along the waterline.
The Royal Canadian Navy declined to comment to CBC News about the extent of the damage.
the story included this video of the damage

Update 12/30/12: CBC News is reporting:

Capt. Doug Keirstead, a spokesman for Maritime Forces Atlantic, said there was no one on the ship at the time, but there were people on the tug.

He said the line was reconnected with the help of a Cormorant helicopter from the airbase in Greenwood, N.S.

“One of the crew members who was on the tug was lowered down to Athabaskan to reconnect the line, as was a member of the tug’s crew,” Keirstead told CBC News on Sunday.

Athabaskan was in St. Catharines, Ont., for a refit. It was on its way to Halifax for the winter when it went adrift.

Once the line was reconnected, the ship was towed to Sydney to wait out the current winter storm. It’s not known when it will resume the journey to Halifax.

Photo HMCS Athabaskan is towed into Sydney harbour to wait out bad weather. (Yvonne Leblanc-Smith/CBC)

Cape Breton post reports

The HMCS Athabaskan drifted in the North Atlantic for hours off Scatarie Island, which has been home to the wreck of the bulk cargo ship, MV Miner, for the past 15 months.
Capt. Doug Keirstead, a spokesman for Marine Forces Atlantic, said the tow line broke due to the poor weather in the region at the time.
There was no one on the Athabaskan at the time, said Keirstead, adding the immediate concern was for the safety of the crew towing the vessel to the Halifax naval dockyard.
“It was drifting at about 0.5 knots, so it was going very slow,” he said, Sunday.
“I do know that they were far enough offshore to allow the ship to be reconnected safely and efficiently, and of course be towed into Sydney at that point to safely avoid the poor weather.”
Keirstead said he was unsure of the exact distance from shore, but given the drifting speed of the Athabaskan, and the time it took to have a Cormorant helicopter fly from its Annapolis Valley airbase in Greenwood to help reconnect the tow line, the ship wasn’t in danger of running aground.
The commercial tugs, contracted by the Canadian Forces, pulled the Iroquois-class destroyer into Sydney harbour late Saturday afternoon.
The HMCS Athabaskan, which has been in service for the Canadian Forces since 1972, had been undergoing a refit in St. Catharines, Ont., and was being towed back to its home port of Halifax prior to the winter closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
It hasn’t been determined when the ship will resume its voyage to Halifax, Keirstead said.
He said it’s not unusual for a tow line to break.
“When we’re having to contend with severe weather conditions, which include high winds and rough seas, that can place a challenge on towing a vessel like that.”
It’s not expected there will be an investigation into the tow line break as it’s a “reasonably straight forward issue,” Keirstead said.
However, he noted the Canadian Forces always looks at lessons learned and how that can be applied to future tows.

Additional update from the Cape Breton Post:

The HMCS Athabaskan was tied up at the Osprey dock in North Sydney, Monday. The Canadian destroyer, which was being towed by two tugboats from St. Catharines, Ont. and had its tow line break off Scatarie Island, will remain in Sydney harbour until weather conditions improve, and then continue on with its trip to the port of Halifax. (additional image Steve Wadden, Cape Breton Post)

Don Merritt photos of the damage


HMCS Athabaskan on the way.

HMCS Athabaskan left Port Weller last night, crossed Lake Ontario today, and is now in the Saint Lawrence seaway. Athabaskan sailed to Port Weller for a scheduled work interval when the seaway opened in march, but the refit ran long, and she must now be towed to Halifax before the seaway closes inland of Montreal, Dec 31 for the winter.

The Tugs Ocean Delta (forward) and Andre H (Aft) have the tow. If Andre H Looks familier, its because she lived in Halifax for a number of years as Point Valiant at ECTug. They have a Halifax ETA on the 31st.

Photo Lynda Crothers HMCS Athabaskan Passing Wolfe Island at 1530
Photo Capt. Andrew Ferris  Meeting the HMCS Athabascan with tugs at Carleton Island

UPDATE 12/24: She is Off Rimouski PQ Today.


Windsor on trials in Basin

HMCS Windsor was spotted on trials in the basin this afternoon.
Photo from a reader via the Facebook page

DND Press release:

HMCS Windsor Returns to Sea

NR – 12.022 – December 14, 2012
OTTAWA – Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Windsor returned to sea yesterday at Halifax, N.S., officially marking the completion of a deep maintenance cycle known as an Extended Docking Work Period.

“HMCS Windsor’s return to sea is a key milestone and her crew now embarks on another challenging journey as they focus on operations at sea,” said The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “I commend the outstanding efforts of Windsor’s crew, our Fleet Maintenance Facilities and of industry that have brought us to this point.”

“Over the next few months, Windsor will conduct additional crew training and trials on her path to high readiness,” said Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. “This milestone builds on the achievements of HMCS Victoria and is another important step towards the Victoria-class Submarine Fleet achieving steady state.”

With the completion of the Extended Docking Work Period, HMCS Windsor will now conduct a series of sea trials, crew training and certifications to prepare for future operations, a process known as the Tiered Readiness Program. HMCS Windsor’s Tiered Readiness Program will closely resemble the one conducted by HMCS Victoria, the first Victoria-class Submarine to become operational and weapons certified to fire MK 48 Heavyweight Torpedoes.

The Victoria-class Submarine Fleet continues to progress towards steady state when three of four submarines will be available for operations. This will include a high readiness submarine available on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, HMCS Windsor and HMCS Victoria respectively, with a third submarine, HMCS Chicoutimi, available at standard readiness. HMCS Corner Brook will rotate into an Extended Docking Work Period in 2013. An Extended Docking Work Period provides the submarines’ 200-plus systems with the maintenance and upgrades needed to conduct operations on behalf of Canadians.

DND Photo

See http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3979 for the current status of all 4 submarines.


Whats the building floating in the Basin? – The DRDC Barge

Ever wonder what the Floating Shed in the bedford Basin Is?

From BIO:

The DRDC Atlantic Acoustic Calibration Barge is located in Bedford Basin, about 5 km by water from DRDC Atlantic. The main function of the Barge is to conduct acoustic calibrations of sonar transducers such as hydrophones and projectors, in a free field salt water environment. It is also used to test and evaluate many other types of sea-going scientific apparatus and military equipment. The chief customers are DRDC Atlantic defence scientists, the Canadian Forces, other government departments and Canadian industry. It is equipped like a combined floating laboratory and workshop. The 300 tonne barge is 36 metres long by 17 metres wide. The main working area is covered by an enclosed heated deckhouse 30 metres by 13 metres, which allows calibrations to be performed year round. The hull contains a rectangular well 18 metres by 9 metres through which equipment under test can be lowered into the water. The barge is moored 1 kilometre from the nearest shore in a water depth of 42 metres. A 10 tonne crane is fitted to the outside deck for unloading equipment and a 5 tonne travelling crane is used to position apparatus over the well. Rotating stations with capacities up to 7 tonnes are available to position sonar transducers at any required orientation and depth.

CFAV Quest also takes part in this reasearch. from DRDC:

the research, development and testing of the systems needed by the Canadian Navy to maintain a state of readiness for maritime warfare often requires that the laboratory be transported to the field so that the work can be performed under “real world” conditions.
To this end, Defence R&D Canada — Atlantic (DRDC Atlantic) employs the Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel Quest. Maintained by the Navy and manned by Maritime Forces Atlantic Auxiliary seamen, Quest conducts 7 to 10 trials per year, spending up to 160 days at sea.
These trials encompass a wide range of R&D activity, from research on the acoustic properties of the ocean to experiments on ship signatures and safety. As well, the evaluation of prototype acoustic detection systems is often the first step in the process leading to procurement of new systems for the Navy.
This broad range of R&D activities requires a capable and versatile vessel; thus, Quest was designed with spacious laboratories, large working deck areas, and very capable marine cranes and specialized equipment handling systems.
The vessel was designed with a large margin of stability and this, combined with its roll–stabilization system and constant displacement systems, makes Quest a safe and stable platform from which to carry out experiments, even in heavy seas.
Of particular note are the acoustic quieting features of the vessel, which reduce the ship’s radiated noise to virtually undetectable levels when the vessel is configured in its “quiet state”.
Quest has conducted research in support of other government departments, universities and Canadian industry, where joint research is mutually beneficial. Quest has participated in Canadian and NATO naval exercises requiring the operational evaluation of prototype equipment.


New tugs for the Navy

The Department of National Defence (DND) intends to replace its fleet of large tugs currently deployed in both HMC Dockyards Halifax in Nova Scotia and Esquimalt in British Columbia. It is expected that the requirement will provide for the construction, test, trial and delivery of six large tugs. The large tugs intended to be replaced are the five Glen Class tugs and the two Fire Class tugs.

The requirements for the new tugs include Daily in harbour operations consisting of hot or cold moves of existing and future warships up to 25,000 tons; Assisting in closing harbour gates, delivering supplies or fresh water, buoy operations and other routine harbour tasks; Twin engine/propulsion plant capable of delivering an approximate bollard pull of 40 tons or an equivalent total power of 4,000 bhp; Fire fighting capability (FiFi 1); Full speed of at least 12 knots; Preferred length overall not to exceed 33 metres; Draft shall not exceed 6 meters; Modern configuration that includes ergonomic features enabling a single person operation from the conning position for any projected evolution in any direction;

The vessels will be operated by a civilian crew holding Transport Canada certification;
The vessels are to be built according to Transport Canada Near Coastal Voyage Class II Regulations and Standards and to a Transport Canada recognised classification society.

The existing Glen and Fire class tugs were built in 1975 and 1978 respectively

(Above) CFAV Firebird, A Fire Class Tug (below) CFAV Glenevis, A Glen Class tug

HMCS Toronto to Halifax Ship yards

Halifax Shipyards will be cramming in the frigates – With 2 allready there undergoing thier FELEX mid-life refits (HMCS Fredericton at the Machine Shop Wharf, and HMCS Montreal in the graving Dock) HMCS Toronto, is due to arrive at Halifax Shipyard this week for about 10 days of preparation before deployment overseas in January.

Warships typically dont have a maintance period like this prior to deployment, however the ship is expected to serve a double length tour (18 months), with the crew being rotated  mid deployment.

(Above)HMCS Toronto at anchor this morning.

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