By Captain Rick Donnelly and Sonya Chwyl
On May 9th, the former HMCS Algonquin left Esquimalt Harbour for the last time to make its final journey to Nova Scotia, where it will be dismantled. For watchers ashore, the scene was bittersweet, and in many ways Algonquin’s departure signals the end of an era at CFB Esquimalt. But that doesn’t mean the pace is going to slow, in fact, there are many projects and activities underway in the dockyard that demonstrate the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
For example, HMCS Regina recently returned to the RCN following its extensive upgrade and mid-life extension programme (HCM/FELEX). It is the fifth and final frigate on the West Coast to complete this modernization process. It will soon engage in sea trials to prepare for future operations and exercises around the world. Frigate modernization is not the only work being carried out on the west coast fleet, however.
Ship and sub maintenance is an ever on-going activity. For example, roughly a year and a half ago, routine DND quality-control checks found that welds on board several West Coast-based ships and submarines did not meet its standards for quality assurance and that the issue related to the work undertaken by a quality assurance sub-contractor that misinterpreted the standards. In total, 684 welds were inspected on board three frigates, with repair work being required and completed on 16 or roughly 2% of the welds…