HMCS Chicoutimi on the move

HMCS Chicoutimi

HMCS Chicoutimi undocks from the Seaspan careen at Ogden Point on Nov. 26.

After a lengthy time ashore, HMCS Chicoutimi is finally back in the water.

The Victoria-class submarine was undocked Nov. 26 from Victoria shipyard and will continue system testing through Babcock Canada, and crew training for its 2014 return to operational readiness.

“We’re very excited to take the next step in Chicoutimi’s preparation,” says LCdr Tim Markusson, Commanding Officer of Chicoutimi. “It’s been a long time coming and we’re thrilled to be moving forward.”

Chicoutimi was docked in 2004 following a fire that claimed the life of Lt(N) Chris Saunders. The fire also gutted portions of the boat. In the nine years that followed the fire, the submarine has undergone extensive repairs, upgrades, and refits.

“I head down to see Chicoutimi once a week, and now just walking around it looks like a submarine again,” he says. “The work has been completed skillfully and beautifully. I couldn’t be happier with it.”

With the 2014 operations date approaching, LCdr Markusson says the crew of Chicoutimi is getting in sailing shape.

“We’ve had several trips to Halifax to work on the trainers and while alongside we’ve been discussing the aspects and procedures of our operation,” says LCdr Markusson.

Over the Christmas period Babcock Canada will continue systems testing and then turn over the submarine in early 2014. Before then, there are many small details that need to be attended to by LCdr Markusson and his team.

“It’s the bits and pieces which need to be handled,” he says. “Things like outfitting the bunks with mattresses, and installing televisions in each mess. This takes an operational submarine and turns it into a home away from home for the crew.”

With the future of Chicoutimi laid out before him, LCdr Markusson is excited to see what’s in store.

“We’ve got a tremendous crew,” he says. “I very much look forward to getting to sea with them, and putting our training to the test. It’s an exciting time to sail in a Canadian submarine.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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