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Constructing the CCG Hero class [Merged]



Someone needs to be held accountable with this...(the words escape me).  Debacle?  Shared under the fair dealings provisions of the copyright act.

Union alleges coast guard vessels are unsafe

Published December 13, 2015 - 7:40pm

Ships were accepted despite pre-construction concerns

Canada’s $200-million fleet of new coast guard mid-shore patrol vessels were accepted and put to use despite a series of serious safety concerns first identified before their construction, some of which are still outstanding.

According to two current and one former Union of Canadian Transportation Employees officials, concerns that the fleet of nine Hero-class, 43-metre patrol vessels were not sufficiently up to safety standards were initially raised by the project team before they were built, but the problems were not mitigated during their design and construction.

The union’s Atlantic region occupational health and safety branch subsequently brought the issues to Canadian Coast Guard management nearly two years ago.

Wayne Fagan, regional vice-president of the union’s Atlantic branch, said he doesn’t understand why the coast guard accepted ships that, according to the on-site project team, were not safe to use, only to have to spend more to correct the issues after the fact.

“(These ships) are built to standards that are less than the standards they have in Third World countries right now,” Fagan said.

The vessels were constructed as part of a contract awarded to Irving Shipbuilding in 2009, with the function of supporting Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s compliance and enforcement program on Canada’s coastline. They were delivered from 2012 to 2014. Two vessels — the CCGS G. Peddle and the CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V. — are based in Halifax.

Documents obtained by The Chronicle Herald show an assurance of voluntary compliance was signed by coast guard management in February agreeing to investigate and mitigate 11 items by the end of March. Five issues have yet to be fixed, and although some of the complaints have been closed, there is still concern among union officials that some of those safety issues have not been sufficiently addressed.

The concerns include problems with what’s called bulkhead penetration, which means water can flow from compartment to compartment, putting the ship at higher risk of sinking, as well as rolling stabilization, and the ability to lower lifeboats with the crew aboard.

There is also a major structural fire protection issue. If there is a blaze aboard one of the vessels, the 14-person crew has a total of two minutes to vacate the ship before the deckhouse — which contains all the vessel’s communication capabilities — begins to collapse. This issue cannot be fixed, Fagan said, only mitigated through procedural precautions.

“If there’s a fire, we’re going to have issues,” he said.

John Dalziel is the former Halifax union president and was one of the members of the project team that first identified the safety concerns. He is a naval architect by trade, and has nearly 50 years in the industry.

The Hero-class ships are the Canadianized version of the Dutch-designed Damen Stan 4200 patrol vessel, a ship used in countries around the world. Dalziel said according to documents he has seen, vessels of this type operated by other countries have structural fire protection that is much higher than Canada’s fleet, giving the crews ample time to vacate.

He said after his on-site project team submitted their list of concerns about the safety of the vessels to coast guard management before their completion, he was told verbally and in writing to not report any of the concerns to the fleet — the people who would actually be operating the ships.

“I’ve been in this industry for half a century,” Dalziel said. “… I’ve never been involved in a project that has been managed quite this way. I had never been instructed before (then) not to report a safety concern.”

He said he would like to see a policy in place that would require safety concerns to be addressed as soon as possible after they are identified.

Wade Stagg, acting regional director of fleet in the Atlantic region, said the coast guard had no concerns with accepting the ships, despite the issues outlined by the project team, because the Hero-class vessels were designed and constructed under the guidance of Lloyd’s Register, an international inspection company, and met Transport Canada safety requirements.

Although the coast guard signed off on an assurance of voluntary compliance to mitigate the safety issues, it does not mean the ships are unsafe to use in the interim, Stagg said.

“That goes on with ships all the time. They’re deemed safe, but as time goes on, you do things that make them safer.”

He was not able to provide a timeline for the completion of the work or an estimated price tag, but he said some of the outstanding concerns will be addressed in an upcoming scheduled refit in February.

“We’re working with the union, we’re working with the vessels, we’re working with Transport Canada and Lloyd’s. We have a fix, and we have a way forward on each one of those items.”

Christine Collins, the union’s national president, said although the process has been unbearably slow, she is satisfied that the employer has acknowledged and is attempting to address the issues. Collins said union officials want to continue to work with the coast guard to resolve the issues voluntarily, but failing sufficient mitigation, they will be forced to issue an order to the employer.

Other than the safety issues outlined by the union, there have been other problems with the vessels. The Chronicle Herald reported in November that the CCGS G. Peddle has been laid up since September awaiting repairs to its lifeboat davit braking system. In June, the McLaren experienced a loss of propulsion that led to a disabling injury of an employee; that instance has since been investigated and the problem corrected.

Fagan said the number of problems with the Hero-class fleet has made them a joke among the crew, but the questions that still exist surrounding their safety is no laughing matter.

“We keep asking, are theses vessels safe? And the answer comes back, ‘They’re according to class.’

“In other words, the insurer has basically signed them off and that they’re according to class, but that doesn’t answer the question of if they’re safe.”


Mmmmmmm!!! Built by Irving Shipyard and certified in class by Lloyds International.

The AOPS are to be built by Irving Shipyard and certified in class by Lloyds International. Just saying.

BTW, Damen Shipyards usually certifies its classes through Bureau Veritas. Again, just saying.

Well, I am out to decorate the tree ...  :gottree:
talking to a guy who has been on them, bulkhead doors that can't be swung fully open and some other faults. It really does not surprise me. Coast Guard management is a walking debacle, the 500 class was the same sort of issues, base closures. There was the move of the 1100 class ships from BC to back east to be replaced by 3 ships, one that was so bad, it never went into service, the other 2 needing significant refits to make them usable. Not to mention that time came to move those vessels, they found out their much vaunted CCG college marine certificate had no international standing and they have to go out and find someone with the right ticket to Captain their ships through the Panama canal. Even a Commissioner of the Coast Guard caught flashing people in public, moved from the east coast to the west coast rather than being let go. I saw so much stuff in the 90's and early 2000's it's clear a house cleaning is in order. 
If the bulkhead penetration issue is related to the cable penetrations, it was known about by the coast guard long before the ships were completed let alone delivered and accepted.

Expect that the 1100 class vessel life extension will be a mess as well, and that hasn't even started yet.
Canada over the years has bought many pieces of kit and instead of letting well enough alone decided to Canadianize them (read screw
them up ) so this is no surprise.  OGBD note that many of the CG screw ups were built on the west coast so its not always the shipyard
that is the problem but political interference .

Note further links at post based on CP story:

Our politicians and media largely ignore–unlike their constant focus on military procurements–our mostly silent (civilian) service, to its great detriment. Now the awful facts described in a major government report tabled in February are reported...

Toronto Star weighs in:

Rescue Canada’s floundering coast guard: Editorial
The Canadian Coast Guard is in dire straits due to aging ships and understaffing. It's vital that the federal government respond.


Lack of funding, a senior management that is more less dysfunctional, a bias against anyone not from the college and coming up the hawsepipe in regards to supporting their career advancement. The management is slowly slitting their own throats in regards to doing little out of their mandate. When you try to get a tasking they make it very difficult, once they even wanted to bill us the entire cost of the ship, when we offered to cover any excess cost like OT and fuel. It was cheaper to hire a charter crew boat. It's not the crews, they love to get out and do new things and go new places. Most of the initiatives you see like diving, swimmer, rescue specialist were driven by the crew members and not the management or senior officers. CCG has some great talent and dedicated crews despite the organization, not because of it. 
Wow sounds like every other Canadian Gov. agency.
38 year-old icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson to be modernized--note final para on what is done in the winter:

ABB Breathes New Life into Canadian Icebreaker

ABB modernization to extend service of 38-year-old Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker; upgrade includes improved connectivity and eight new drives

ABB will modernize a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, installing the latest hardware and software onboard the 38 year old Pierre Radisson. As part of the complete upgrade to the ship’s power distribution system, eight new drives will also be installed. The contract includes the option to modernize the other two Coast Guard ships, Des Groseilliers and Amundsen, both of which have clocked up more than 30 years of service…

Design and supply work is scheduled to begin immediately and installation and commissioning is expected to be finished by June 2017. In winter, the Pierre Radisson breaks ice and escorts ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers. In summer, the ship travels to the Canadian Arctic to escort commercial ships, serve as a primary search and rescue unit and provide support to scientific missions when possible…”

Keep ’em going to the half century or something as only that one new one is planned.

Work likely to be done at Davie, Quebec:

Davie proposal may still be alive:

Davie Québec Wants to Build Icebreaker for, Unload Other Vessels on, Canadian Coast Guard, Part 2

Further to this post with lots of detail on the pitch and in which I wrote…

The CCG could certainly use a new polar icebreaker before 2022 and the other vessels Davie has been put forward could well be welcome (see the 2013 situation here: “The Poor Canadian Coast Guard, or, Read Our Lips…)…"

it now looks as if the Davie idea may not be dead...

What's old is new again


I'd be all for leasing icebreakers.  There's no way we can buy enough in time given the timeline.

*I haven't posted a link to a story before, sorry if I didn't do it correctly.

Doesn't seem to be a super urgent matter.  It really does illuminate the contrast between the Canadian Coast Guard and the US Coast Guard in terms of structure, staffing, etc. though.
Not surprising, we are paying poor wages compared to industry, but then we don't have the ups and downs. If the downturn carries on, this will be self correcting as we won't have to compete for ticketed personal. If even one of the LNG projects on the West Coast goes into production, there will be a severe shortage for the first 10 years. The pilots hire mostly from the Tugs and with 4 docking tugs and possibly 2-3 escort tugs per tanker with 250-360 ships a year, that's a lot of people to maintain that flow.
In the "Gee, who'd have thought" department, CCG is having trouble finding crews willing to work overtime, since the new pay system has problems with paying them.  Imagine, crews at sea don't have access to the Government of Canada computer network to input their hours for approval by their boss.

I sense the nefarious hand of the evil Harper.  >:D

Downsizing the bureaucracy on the Liberal's watch by implementing a change the Civil Service asked for.  Genius. 
They should really start putting "we don't drug test" on their job ads.
dapaterson said:
In the "Gee, who'd have thought" department, CCG is having trouble finding crews willing to work overtime, since the new pay system has problems with paying them.  Imagine, crews at sea don't have access to the Government of Canada computer network to input their hours for approval by their boss.


The assumption of the software types is everyone has an account and network access.