HALIFAX – The commander of Canada’s navy says the embattled HMCS Chicoutimi will be operational by early next year.
During an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press aboard the navy’s only operational submarine HMCS Windsor, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman says a problem with some of the welding on HMCS Chicoutimi as well as HMCS Victoria was discovered late last year.
Norman says the welding work was done by a subcontractor that was hired by a contractor working on both Victoria-class submarines as well as some surface ships in Victoria, B.C.
He says the welds were passing inspections, but the navy did not realize at the time that the inspection process itself was flawed.
Norman says a complete audit was conducted and the subcontractor has agreed to fix the roughly 70 problem welds on HMCS Chicoutimi, but that process will take several more months.
He says HMCS Chicoutimi will be fixed first, followed by HMCS Victoria, which is currently being used for training purposes.
Only one of Canada’s four subs are operational following years of setbacks, including a fire aboard HMCS Chicoutimi in 2004 on its first Canadian voyage that killed Lt. Chris Saunders and sent two others to hospital.