Canada’s new OFSVs dry-docked for repairs

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — The Canadian Coast Guard is closely monitoring problems affecting components on all three of its new offshore fisheries science vessels (OFSVs), CBC News reported.

Two components — a propulsion shaft tube and valves controlling seawater intake — have needed repair or replacement on CCGS John Franklin, CCGS Jacques Cartier and CCGS John Cabot. The “classwide” problems included corrosion, premature wear or mislabeling.

The failure of a third component — a switch that controls motor speed — caused a fire on CCGS John Franklin and led to a stop-sail order from independent inspectors working on behalf of Transport Canada. The defective controller, known as a variable frequency drive, was found to be an isolated incident.

CCGS Jacques Cartier in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 2021. Steve Lawrence/CBC photo

The forward and aft propulsion shaft stern tube bearings have been repaired on CCGS John Franklin and CCGS John Cabot. CCGS Jacques Cartier will be pulled out of the water next month for a refit. Its propeller shaft tube bearings will be replaced.

Seaspan of Vancouver, British Columbia, built the ships at a cost of $788 million as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The ships entered service between 2019 and 2021, providing fisheries science and monitoring in the Pacific and Atlantic.

“The construction of an entirely new class of vessels is a complex endeavor, and a certain number of challenges with new ships can be expected until they reach and maintain their normal operational service lives,” said Lindsey McDonald, a representative for the Canadian Coast Guard. “(The service) continues to closely monitor this situation.”

In a prepared statement, Seaspan said the ships are a new class of vessel and are highly complex and capable.

“And we’re proud to see these ships performing well overall,” said spokeswoman Jo-Anne Dyer. “As any new ship enters full operation, there may be some issues that need to be addressed and we continue to work closely with our customer, ready to provide support and assistance if and as required.”

By Rich Miller