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Posted: 10/7/2004 11:35:39 AM EDT
October 06, 2004
Navy support vessel to help stricken Canadian submarine

By Christopher Munsey
Times staff writer

Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi is photogrpahed on the surface off the northwest coast of Ireland Wednesday by a British Royal Air Force Nimrod providing emergency cover following an onboard fire on Tuesday. — AP photo / Ministry of Defence

The submarine support vessel Carolyn Chouest left port in Faslane, Scotland, on Wednesday to assist a Canadian submarine after a shipboard electrical fire left it drifting in the Atlantic about 100 miles northwest of Ireland.

Chartered by the Navy, the Carolyn Chouest is the dedicated support vessel for the Navy’s nuclear-powered research submarine, NR-1, and tows the small submarine to wherever it needs to go for research purposes.

“It’s going out to see if it can be of assistance with recovery operations,” said Lt. j.g. Dave Luckett, a spokesman for 6th Fleet in Italy.

Besides Carolyn Chouest, the Navy also offered P-3C Orion aircraft from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy to assist in relaying communications, Luckett said.

When the accident happened, NR-1 was already in the 6th Fleet area of operation to conduct underwater surveys for the Naval Research Lab, said Cmdr. Cate Mueller, 6th Fleet spokesman. Depending on weather conditions, it might take the ship as long as 24 hours to reach the submarine, Mueller said.

The Royal Navy, which is coordinating recovery efforts for the disabled Canadian sub, asked 6th Fleet to send the Carolyn Chouest on Tuesday night, Mueller said.

A fire broke out in an electrical panel in a compartment below the commanding officer’s stateroom aboard the diesel submarine HMCS Chicoutimi on Tuesday, said Mike Bonin, a spokesman for the Canadian Navy’s Maritime Forces Atlantic.

The submarine sent out a distress call. Nine of the 57 crew members aboard suffered smoke inhalation putting out the fire. Three crew members were taken off the boat by Royal Navy helicopter and flown to County Sligo, Ireland, on Wednesday.

Canadian officials said weather at the scene is rough, with 20-foot seas and 30-knot winds making life miserable for the submarine crew members as it lolls about on the surface.

Because of the fire, the commanding officer decided against restarting the submarine’s diesel propulsion system, Bonin said, but an auxiliary diesel generator is powering air circulators and some emergency power.

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose reached the submarine Wednesday and sent a two-person medical team aboard to treat those suffering from smoke inhalation, he said. HMS Marlborough, Wave Knight, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, and the tug Anglian Prince also arrived Wednesday, a British Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

The submarine, the last of four diesel electric submarines purchased by Canada from the Royal Navy, left Scotland on Monday for transit back to Canada.

The fire also marked the first time the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office in Norfolk, Va. was put into use, said Phil McGuinn, a spokesman for Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic.

Formally stood up Sept. 27 in Norfolk, Va., ISMERLO operates a Web site where the status, location and capabilities of submarine rescue assets of 27 participating nations are listed.

When a submarine accident occurs, a participating navy can work through the information on the password-protected portion of the site and find the closest source of help, said retired Navy Cmdr. Bill Orr, ISMERLO coordinator.

Carolyn Chouest is one of the platforms listed as available from the United States, McGuinn said.

Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:40:46 AM EDT
Wow... I am just amazed that Canada even HAS a submarine. Why? Must be for show. It's not like they don't know that if they were ever attacked we'd jump in faster than Kerry dodging his own shrapnel. I can understand them having F-18's to sort of patrol the borders or something, but a sub? Strange.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:41:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Label:

Wow... I am just amazed that Canada even HAS a submarine.

Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:44:46 AM EDT
we got about 8
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:45:57 AM EDT
Hey! Who let the Cannuks have guns?
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:48:44 AM EDT
Everybody should have a sub or two! I think even the Iranians have a couple or are getting them.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:53:35 AM EDT
someone needs to remind the iranians that submarines were called pigboats once upon a time.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:56:24 AM EDT
Here's another one of her subs: The HMCS Forgetabootiteh

*apologies to Striker

Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:15:07 PM EDT
Doesn't the Edmonton mall have more subs than the Canadian Navy does?

They probably work better too.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:16:58 PM EDT
they're built out of wood, eh?

oh, and


Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:43:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 12:44:13 PM EDT by IBU-14_Gunner]

Originally Posted By Lazyshooter:
Everybody should have a sub or two! I think even the Iranians have a couple or are getting them.

Since you mentioned the Iranians having submarines: When I was attending submarine school in Groton, CT back in 1989, one of my instructors was telling us about how the US had previously sold some of our old diesel submarines to Iran and how their sailors would come to the sub school in Groton for training on those old diesel boats prior to taking the boats back to Iran.

So the story goes that one of these Iranian sub sailors raped an american girl in Groton and because he had diplomatic immunity, he couldn't be charged for it. So one day these Iranians take their boat out to sea for the day, out past what ever the range is for our territorial waters. So when they came back in to port later that day, this one Iranian sailor was dead. They had gone out past the territorial waters and hung this guy for raping the american girl.

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