Cor­morant Top­ples in Bridge­wa­ter

RCN News - - Contents -

Res­i­dents in Bridge­wa­ter, N.S. are grow­ing in­creas­ingly con­cerned af­ter a for­mer RCN ship docked in the town's har­bour tilted over due to heavy ice and snow. The ves­sel, pre­vi­ously com­mis­sioned as HMCS Cor­morant, has been sit­ting in LaHave River with a forty-de­gree list.

The trou­ble be­gan a few weeks ear­lier, when the Cana­dian Coast Guard said ice and snow col­lected on the ship's deck, caus­ing it to tilt. And when wa­ter found its way into the hold on March 18, the ship started to sink.

"The ves­sel seems to be sit­ting on the bot­tom right now," said Keith Laid­law, a se­nior re­sponse of­fi­cer with the Coast Guard. "It hasn't moved through the tide cy­cles in the last cou­ple of days, so we don't be­lieve it will move any­more, but that is spec­u­la­tion.”

Lo­cals are con­cerned that the dam­age in­curred to the ves­sel could lead to chem­i­cals spilling into the river. The ship con­tains nearly 200 litres of diesel fuel, as well as some lu­bri­ca­tion oil and hy­draulic flu­ids in the main en­gine crankcases.

What was once a proud part of the Cana­dian Forces, is now con­sid­ered an eye­sore by Bridge­wa­ter res­i­dents.

Lo­cal fire crews have been called in by the ship's own­ers to help clean the ice and snow off the deck. The hope was that in­spec­tors could then gain ac­cess to the hatches and in­spect the ship's hold.

The Coast Guard says that re­float­ing a ship of this size is ex­pected to be a com­plex and ex­pen­sive process, which may re­quire spe­cial equip­ment from out­side the province.

The ship, which be­gan as an Ital­ian fish­ing trawler, was in­volved in sev­eral high-pro­file mis­sions as a Royal Cana­dian Navy dive ten­der.

The on­board mini-sub was used to re­cover the bell from the wreck of the SS Ed­mund Fitzger­ald, which sank in Lake Su­pe­rior in 1975 af­ter it was hit by a storm. The sub was also used to visit the wreck of the Breadal­bane, which was a Bri­tish mer­chant bar­que that was crushed by ice and sank in the Arc­tic in 1853. Fol­low­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of John Franklin's ex­pe­di­tion to the North­west Pas­sage, the Breadal­bane helped to sup­ply the ves­sels that were search­ing Arc­tic wa­ters for Franklin and his crew.

The ves­sel has changed hands a cou­ple times since its days in the navy, and now be­longs to a group of cred­i­tors who hope to sell it.

On 4 April, 1949, 12 na­tions signed the Washington Treaty, cre­at­ing NATO. Since then, the Al­liance has grown to 28 mem­bers, but the mis­sion has stayed the same: To safe­guard the free­dom

and se­cu­rity of our mem­bers through po­lit­i­cal

and mil­i­tary means.

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