Offshore patrol vessel HMCS DeWolf returning to Halifax after generator failure

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HMCS Harry DeWolf leaves the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard on its way to being delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy dockyard in Halifax in 2020 (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
HMCS Harry DeWolf leaves the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard on its way to being delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy dockyard in Halifax in 2020 (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A generator failure has forced HMCS Harry DeWolf, a new ship that was designed for Arctic waters, to abandon its voyage to Canada's North to join HMCS Margaret Brook in sovereignty exercises.

Speaking to CBC News from on board the HMCS Margaret Brook, navy Capt. Sheldon Gillis, commander of the Canadian Task Group deployed to the North, said  at 2 p.m. AT that the vessel  was southwest of Newfoundland en route to Halifax harbour for repairs.

Gillis said diesel generator number four, one of the generators required for propulsion, failed.

"In order to ensure that the ship was fully prepared for operations in the North, a decision was made to turn the ship around back to Halifax harbour to effect those repairs, and then get the ship back underway," Gillis said.

According to Gillis, the offshore patrol vessel has four generators on board. Two are at the front of the ship and two are at the back.

Three working generators

The ship left Halifax with three working generators because generator number three was broken and the technician was waiting for a part to arrive. He said the plan was to carry out the repair in the North when the part arrived.

Gillis said it was "fully safe" to operate that type of vessel on three generators and the ship was fully certified for safe operations.

He said when the ship arrives in Halifax late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, experts will determine what repairs are needed.

Despite the mechanical problems, Gillis said the Navy had the "utmost confidence" in the vessels.

"This is machinery and machinery breaks. And it doesn't matter what industry that you are part of. In this case, it happens to be a warship and we're going to do exactly what we need to do," he said.

"We'll get the repair done as quickly as we can, as safely as we can, and get the ship underway for operations again."

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