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HMCS Toronto Sails

With 5 blasts of the horn, HMCS Toronto slipped her lines and backed away from jetty NB. She passed the stern of the Iroquois where she recived a salute from Vice Admiral Paul Maddison.

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the deployment of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto to the Arabian Sea region as part of Operation Artemis, Canada’s contribution to Combined Task Force 150.

“Today, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Toronto deploys to conduct maritime security operations with a multinational coalition fleet in the Arabian Sea region. 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.

“I want to thank the crew – Commander David Patchell, Commanding Officer of HMCS Toronto, the 225 personnel aboard and the CH-124 Sea King helicopter detachment – for their service, and wish them all fair winds and following seas.”

More on Operation Artemis can be found at http://www.cjoc.forces.gc.ca/exp/artemis/index-eng.asp

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HMCS Athabaskan Due tonight

HMCS Athabaskan is due to arrive around 11pm tonight. Given the cloud cover, and probable fog, She will be well obscured.

UPDATE 2230 01/14. No sign of her yet.
UPDATE 2350 01/14 – Atlantic Fir on AIS. ~16nm from pilot station, making 4.8 knots. that puts her in the inner harbour in about 5 hours.
UPDATE 0000 01/15 – Twitter tells me she is due at the pilot station at 0500

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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