The HMCS Harry DeWolf hasn’t even set sail for its Arctic patrols but the Royal Canadian Navy’s newest ship is already experiencing problems.
Just 2 ½ months after receiving the vessel from Irving Shipbuilding, the navy is investigating whether a recent breakdown was a fluke incident or part of a wider, systemic problem with its design.
Commander of the Canadian Fleet Atlantic, Commodore Richard Feltham explained that the new ship returned to port in Halifax after some training exercises. There was an issue with its freshwater generator and communications system. While docked, crew discovered cooling pumps on two of the ship’s four diesel generators had broken down.
“This pump issue that we’re facing now, we will figure out if it’s just an anomaly of a certain pump or something else,” he said in an interview from Halifax on Thursday.
“Right now I don’t know if I need to replace all the pumps or not. Perhaps it was just organic material on the pump. I don’t know yet. It’d be premature to say. So we’ll do an investigation.”
The HMCS Harry DeWolf delivered to the navy in July after two years of delays. It is the first ship in a $5 Billion contract awarded to the Irving shipyard in Halifax. The order includes 6 ships for the Navy and two for the Canadian Coast Guard.
Feltham noted that it was “inevitable” that an issue would arise as this is the first ship of its kind built at the shipyard.
Irving spokesman Tom Ormsby echoed that comment.
“We are coordinating with (the Defence Department) and working with the equipment manufacturer and will take further action as necessary when the ship returns to port,” Ormsby added.
“Lessons learned from the build and operation of the lead vessel in this brand-new class are being incorporated in the build and testing of subsequent (Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship) vessels.”