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Ottawa budgets $11 million for sabotaged Canadian Coast Guard vessel to be repaired

The vessel slipped from its cradle, crashing into the ocean floor and coming to rest partially submerged in the icy water of Sambro Harbour. Source: Canadian Coast Guard

New figures from the Government of Canada put a hefty price tag on the extensive and lengthy repairs for a Canadian Coast Guard vessel sabotaged in Nova Scotia in 2018.

Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for $11 million to repair CCGS Corporal McLaren, according to the federal government’s 2018-2019 public accounts.

“[The] Coast Guard’s intention is to return… CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V to service,” said Benoit Mayrand, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in a statement.

READ MORE: ‘Substantial,’ expensive repairs of sabotaged Canadian Coast Guard vessel could take years: experts

“The $11M was the best estimate of the cost of repairs to… CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V at the time of preparing the Public Accounts in April 2019.”

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The information was first reported by Le Journal De Montreal.

Sabotage and investigation concluded

In November 2018, the 42.8-metre patrol vessel was cut from its moorings at the Canadian Maritime Engineering dockyard in Sambro, N.S., where it was meant to undergo a month-long refit.

The vessel slipped from its cradle, crashing into the ocean floor and coming to rest partially submerged in the icy water of Sambro Harbour.

Power cables were torn from the vessel as it slid into the water. Multiple compartments on the vessel were filled with icy seawater, damaging computer equipment and rendering wiring useless.

Everything that was damaged must now be replaced or refurbished before the vessel can return to service.

Officials were quick to determine the act was sabotage.

READ MORE: CCGS Corporal McLaren re-floated after sabotage in Nova Scotia fishing village

It’s unlikely that anyone will face criminal charges as a result of the sabotage.

No arrests have been made and Halifax Regional Police say their investigation into the incident has concluded as “all investigative avenues have been exhausted at this time.”

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Few leads as sabotaged Canadian Coast Guard vessel remains unrepaired in Nova Scotia – Apr 16, 2019

Could be years before vessel returns to service

CCGS Corporal McLaren — one of nine Hero-class vessels built for $227 million and launched from the Irving Shipyards in Halifax in 2013 — now rests at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

The timeline to get the vessel back in service is still “being determined” according to the DFO.

“The first phase of the vessel’s return to service is the removal of contaminated porous materials to allow for safe access to all spaces of the vessel by contractors and Government personnel,” said Mayrand.

Any work and repair that is required will be put to tender and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PPSC) has now issued a Request for Information for a statement of work.

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Timothy Hiu-Tung Choi, a doctoral student at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies specializing in maritime security and the Canadian navy, told Global News in Aug. 2019, that the repairs won’t be the final step in getting CCGS Corporal McLaren up and running again, adding that it’s more realistic to expect a “return to service in no less than two years.”

PPSC has confirmed that the repair contract with Canadian Maritime Engineering was “terminated for default” on Aug. 29, 2019.

They have also said they are looking at the possibility of claiming repair costs from the CME shipyard and strengthening security clauses in their repair contracts.

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