Navy investigates collision

HMCS Algonquin damage

HMCS Algonquin sustained significant damage to its hangar during a tow exercise with HMCS Protecteur.

Now that HMC Ships Protecteur and Algonquin are alongside HMC Dockyard after a collision at sea Aug. 30, two separate investigations have commenced: A technical survey and a Board of Inquiry.  

Algonquin sustained significant damage to her port-side hangar during a towing exercise with Protecteur.

“A technical survey is being conducted to determine the extent of the damage to Algonquin,” said Cmdre Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific (CANFLTPAC). “On completion of that survey, a plan will be developed to repair Algonquin with the goal of returning her to sea as quickly as possible. Protecteur, however, suffered only cosmetic damage that has already been repaired and she is scheduled to return to sea this week.”

While the exact cause of the collision is unclear at this time, a Board of Inquiry is being convened to investigate the incident. The Board will examine all the evidence and contributing factors that led to the incident, and make a determination as to the causes. The board will also make recommendations on how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The collision cut short what was to be a four-month deployment to the Asia Pacific region. Disappointment rippled through the ships’ crews when they realized there would be no trip to Sydney, Australia, for the International Fleet Review, and diplomatic visits to various Pacific Rim nations.

“There’s no way around it, it was going to be a great trip for many of these sailors,” says Cmdre Auchterlonie. “But as professional sailors, they responded by taking on the new challenge of doing what it takes to get both ships back to sea.”

Both ships stores were filled with supplies, including perishable food items that had to be removed.

“Both of these ships were fully stored for deployment including 21 days worth of fresh food for their crews of over 300 people, so we had to deal with that,” says Cmdre Auchterlonie. “Fortunately, the men and women of the Logistics Departments within the ships have worked with their counterparts to plan to distribute these stores across other Fleet units and within the Formation.”

Immediately following the incident, sailors were given time to contact friends, family, and loved ones to let them know they were returning home.  

“It’s important that the crews were able to keep their families in the loop. We wanted them to know what had happened first, and that no one was hurt,” says Cmdre Auchterlonie.

With Algonquin unable to sail until the damage is repaired, Cmdre Auchterlonie says work is being done to get things in order.

“We’ve got skilled men and women working to make sure the repairs are made as quickly as possible.”

While the repairs take place, the Pacific Fleet continues preparations for Task Group Exercise (TGEX) in October, deploying six warships, including Protecteur to conduct joint exercises off the west coast of North America with the United States Navy.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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