From the Arctic to the Horn of Africa… the Royal Canadian Navy seem to be everywhere.
Canadian Warships Depart for Canada’s Arctic Waterways
NR 13.242 – July 29, 2013
OTTAWA – Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Summerside departed today from Halifax, N.S. for Canada’s arctic, where she will be joined later in August by HMCS Shawinigan. This deployment is a part of a 39-day mission north of the 60th parallel, marking the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) longest uninterrupted arctic naval presence in recent years.
During the deployment, HMCS Summerside and HMCS Shawinigan will participate in Operations QIMMIQ and NANOOK, conducting surveillance and presence activities, as well as joint training scenarios, showcasing Canadian Armed Forces assistance to civil emergency management and law enforcement agencies during threats to public safety.
““Overcoming the challenges associated with operating in Canada’s northern regions is an important area of focus for the Canadian Armed Forces. Accordingly, we will continue to play a key role in supporting Canada’s Northern Strategy,”” said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff. ““With these ship deployments the Royal Canadian Navy will, alongside other government departments, establish a visible and important federal presence in our northern communities during the next two months. The ships will also be pre-positioned to participate in our largest annual northern training and sovereignty activity, Operation NANOOK.””
““The deployment of maritime coastal defence vessels in Canada’s northern waters serves as an example of how our Navy demonstrates sovereignty in the North and, when authorized, assist other government departments in enforcing national and international law,”” said Vice Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the RCN. ““The experience will also help us prepare the stage for more extensive operations in the ice, to be conducted in the future by our Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, by ironing out some of the logistical and operating challenges generated by the sheer distances, remoteness, and generally harsher environmental conditions in the North.””
Operation NANOOK, the most widely recognized of all the northern deployments, and Operation QIMMIQ, a year-round persistent surveillance and presence operation, are directed by Canadian Joint Operations Command. Other yearly Northern deployments include the springtime Operation NUNALIVUT in the high Arctic and the summertime Operation NUNAKPUT in the western Arctic.
70-years ago today…
HM Submarines score a victory in the Aegean:
HMS Trooper (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, RN commanding) sunk the Italian submarine Pietro Micca (1371 GRT) with torpedos south of the Strait of Otranto.
The global reach of the U-boats seems undiminished:
British motor merchant ‘Cornish City’ (4952 GRT) carrying 9600 tons of coal was sunk by torpedoes from U-177 (KrvKpt. Robert Gysae) in the Indian Ocean southeast of Madagascar. The master, 31 crew, and 5 DEMS gunners were killed. The survivors took to rafts and were later picked up the RAN destroyer HMAS Nizam.
Yet the reach of Allied air power is increasing:
U-615 (Kptlt. Ralph Kapitzky) came under attack by a USAAF B-18 Bolo aircraft in the Atlantic. This marked the beginning of one of the longest U-boat hunts during the war as U-615 fought its way through multiple air attacks for the next 8-days.
And from the shipyards:
HMS Pretoria Castle was commissioned as an escort carrier. Originally launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast as the passenger ship Pretoria Castle for the Union Castle line, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty in October 1939 and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. In July 1942, she was purchased outright by the Admiralty for conversion into an escort carrier. The work was completed at Swan Hunter, Tyneside in July 1943 and she became a trials & training carrier.
Only the “majors.” Smaller vessels (less than 10,000 HP), such as the Royal Navy’s HMS Protector, and “ice-strengthened” vessels such as the British Antarctic Survey’s RRS Ernest Shackleton, are not included.
U.S. Coast Guard’s 2013 Reivew of Major Ice Breakers of the World
The Coast Guard Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy (CG-WWM) began producing the chart of major icebreakers of the world in July 2010. Since then, we have gathered icebreaker information and recommendations from a variety of sources and experts, including icebreaker subject-matter experts, internet posts, news updates, Arctic experts and Coast Guard offices with icebreaker equities. We validate our information within the public forum and update the chart at least semi-annually based on new information and feedback. This chart represents the Coast Guard’s current factual understanding of the major icebreaker fleet. This chart is not intended for icebreaker fleet comparisons and no inference should be drawn regarding a country’s icebreaker “ranking” against another.
Scope. Vessels meeting the general definition of a polar icebreaker per the 2007 National Research Council report on Polar Icebreakers in a Changing World are included. These vessels “have sailed in significant sea ice in either the Arctic or the Antarctic,” have “ice strengthening sufficient for polar ice” and possess “installed power of at least 10,000 horsepower.” Minimally ice-strengthened ships (enough to survive in ice, rather than operate in it) and icebreakers of less than 10,000 horsepower are not included. With the exception of the Baltic icebreakers, this chart does not indicate where their owners may actually operate them. In addition, the chart does not specify whether a vessel’s crew is civilian or military.
Classification Methodology: The chart organizes the icebreakers first by country, then by installed power category, and finally in order of placement in service, youngest to oldest. The chart colors icebreakers by their relative capability estimated using brake horsepower as the most common basis. The most capable icebreakers are black, the next level sea-green and the lightest icebreakers are blue. Icebreakers in construction are colored yellow, and planned icebreakers are white. Planned icebreakers are placed on the chart if we can reliably state they are funded. The chart identifies government-owned or -operated icebreakers with the country’s flag next to the icebreaker. Nuclear-powered icebreakers are marked with an N. Baltic icebreakers designed to operate solely in seasonal, first-year Baltic Sea ice but meeting the ice-strengthening and horsepower criteria are marked on the chart with a B. Most Baltic icebreakers may not have operated in the Arctic due to concerns with open-ocean sea-keeping ability for open water transits.
Fleet numbers and Icebreaker Size in Context. The fleet numbers and icebreaker size tend to align along each county’s economic necessity for icebreaker resources. For example, the economies of Finland, Russia and Sweden have greater dependence on major icebreakers to pursue economic goals in the Arctic and Baltic winters than the economies of other nations. Also, ice in these countries’ shipping lanes, rivers and ports forms earlier, lasts longer, and requires more power to break, requiring more extensive icebreaking capabilities. Similarly, the Canadian icebreaker fleet supports summer access and supply to Canada’s Arctic communities. In contrast, in addition to the polar icebreakers already listed, the U.S has a number of icebreakers operating in the Great Lakes, New England and the mid-Atlantic to facilitate commerce and for exigent circumstances, but these are not listed in this chart because the icebreakers are not required to meet the threshold of at least 10,000 BHP.
70-years ago today…
HMS Newfoundland, Colony class light cruiser, flagship of the 15th Cruiser Squadron, was torpedoed by U-407 (Kptlt. Ernst-Ulrich Brüller commanding) off Syracuse, Sicily and hit in the stern. Newfoundland lost her rudder, but was able to reach Malta, steering using her propellers. After repairs, Newfoundland went on to serve with the Far East Fleet and was present at Tokyo Bay on 2 Sept 1945 when the instrument of surrender was signed aboard USS Missouri.
U-466 (Oblt. Gerhard Thäter commanding) was attacked by American B-18 Bolo and B-24 Liberator bombers East of French Guyana, surviving a first attack by returning fire with anti-aircraft guns, and subsequent attacks by diving.
U-591 (Ltn. Joachim Sauerbier commanding) was attacked twice by an American B-24 Liberator bomber off Cape de Sao Roque, Brazil, but escaped damage by diving during each attack.
In the shipyards:
HMCS Orangeville (K 491), Castle class corvettes, laid down at Henry Robb, Leith. Originally ordered as HMS Hedingham Castle.
HMCS West York (K 369), Flower class corvette, laid down at Midland Shipyards, Ontario.
On this day in history…
19th July 1943 was a yet another good day for HM Submarines…
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the German barges Maria, Paula and the Italian armed yacht Margherita (88 GRT) with gunfire in the port of Favone, Corsica, France.
HMS Sickle (Lt. J.R. Drummond, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper V 131/Amgiola Maria C. (65 GRT) with gunfire off Porto Vecchio, Italy.
And a good day for US Navy submarines…
USS Porpoise (Lt. Cdr. C.L. Bennett, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Mikage Maru Nr.20 (2718 GRT) south of Wake Island.
And a good day for the Soviets…
Soviet submarine S-56 torpedoed and sank the German auxiliary patrol vessel NKi 09 / Alane (466 GRT) off the Tanafjord near Gamvik, Norway. (Incidentally, S-56 is preserved as a museum ship in Vladivostok if you’re ever out that way.)
Also on this day…
The Tribal class destroyer HMCS Huron (G24) was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy under command of Lt. Cdr. H. S. Rayner, DSC, RN.
The River class frigate HMS Inver (K302) was commissioned into the Royal Navy under command of Lt. F. H. Gray, RNR.
The Edsall class destroyer escort USS Keith (DE 241) was commissioned into the United States Navy under command of Lt. D. Cochran, USN.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s long-troubled Victoria class submarines require more work, more funds, and no doubt more grumbling in Ottawa’s corridors of power. While protecting jobs at the Esquimalt dockyard is a “good thing” these Victoria class boats are not going to be remembered with the same level of affection that the old Oberon class were.
New $531-million submarine contract protects 200 jobs at Esquimalt
OTTAWA — B.C.’s shipbuilding and repair industry will get a shot of good news Thursday when the Harper government announces a five-year, $531-million contract extension to repair and upgrade Canada’s fleet of four diesel-electric submarines, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
The contract, following a similar agreement struck in 2008, will protect roughly 200 jobs at the department of national defence’s Fleet Maintenance Facility in Esquimalt, according to a federal official.
Another 200 jobs will be protected at locations elsewhere in Canada, he said.
“This significant federal investment will support more than 400 high-quality jobs, improve the long-term sustainability of B.C.’s shipbuilding industry and provide the best tools for Canada’s sailors,” he said in a prepared statement.
The contract was won in a competitive bid by Babcock Canada Inc., a subsidiary of the British multinational firm Babcock International Group PLC.
Babcock International won the original contract in 2008 after it teamed up with Weir Canada Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., to create a consortium called the Canadian Submarine Management Group.
However, Babcock announced in 2011 that CSMG would be renamed Babcock Canada Inc. after Weir’s share of the joint venture was transferred to Babcock.
The original contract award caused a political flap because Babcock beat out Irving Shipbuilding, which wanted to keep the repair work in Halifax.
One of the critics was Green party leader Elizabeth May, who at the time was planning her run against Defence Minister Peter MacKay in his Nova Scotia riding.
May, who accused the government of an “anti-Atlantic bias,” is now the MP for the Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
The original five-year contract in 2008 was worth $370 million over five years, but if CSMG met performance targets the contract was to be extended over 15 years, for a total value of up to $1.5 billion.
Thursday’s announcement gives a clear indication that Babcock has met those targets.
The fleet of four Victoria-class diesel-electric submarines has had a rocky history after the Liberal government made what appeared to be the bargain-basement purchase of the mothballed subs from the Royal Navy for $750 million in 1998.
It took far longer and was costlier than expected to make the vessels seaworthy, and in 2004 the HMCS suffered a fire that left one officer dead. In 2011, HMCS Corner Brook ran aground near Vancouver Island during manoeuvres.
There are now two subs, HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor, that are fully operational.
HMCS Chicoutimi is currently being serviced at Esquimalt but is expected to be ready for sea trials later this year.
The HMCS Corner Brook is also in Esquimalt for both repairs and a refit.
The fleet is “at the highest state of readiness that they’ve ever been,” the source said.