New ship, old problem: Cost of Canadian Coast Guard ship refit jumps by 500K

·2 min read
The Canadian Coast Guard offshore fisheries science vessel CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier is shown in Pictou on Friday as it emerged from refit. (Craig Paisley/CBC - image credit)
The Canadian Coast Guard offshore fisheries science vessel CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier is shown in Pictou on Friday as it emerged from refit. (Craig Paisley/CBC - image credit)

It took seven weeks longer than expected and went $500,000 over budget, but one of Canada's new offshore fisheries science vessels emerged from a maintenance and repair refit Friday.

Work on Canadian Coast Guard Ship Capt Jacques Cartier was extended after an unforeseen problem was discovered when the vessel arrived at a Pictou shipyard in June. It is not an unusual event for ships — especially Canadian Coast Guard ships — once in refit.

"Upon inspection at the shipyard, it was determined that there was significant pitting in the stern tube which would require repair," said Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesperson Victoria Waizmann in a written response to CBC News.

The ship entered the Canadian Maritime Engineering facility for planned maintenance that included replacing bearings in a stern propeller tube that allow the propeller to turn smoothly. The bearing problem is common to all three fisheries science ships.

"The CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier entered a period of planned maintenance on June 10, 2022 to address stern tube bearing and rudder issues in advance of the regulatory drydock scheduled in the winter. Shortly before the maintenance period began, issues with the vessel's propulsion system were noted," Waizmann said.

Fixing the pitting issues and propeller shaft coating were deemed priorities during the drydocking.

Another 'class-wide' problem

The refit was extended nearly two months and the cost increased from $306,095.50 to $822,300.37.

Another "class-wide" problem in the new offshore fisheries science vessels involved valves controlling seawater intake. Vancouver's Seaspan Shipyard built the John Franklin, Jacques Cartier and John Cabot at a cost of $788 million under the national shipbuilding program.

When CBC reported the stern tube and valve issues earlier this year, the company said: "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."

The extended refit is not expected to impact upcoming science programs on the CCGS Jacques Cartier.

A dedication to service ceremony — once called a ship's christening — will take place on Monday at the Canadian Coast Guard's base at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

MORE TOP STORIES