Damage to Canadian sub worse than thought

Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:17 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Canadian submarine HMCS Corner Brook was more seriously damaged than first reported when it hit the ocean floor last year, photographic evidence indicates.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday the exclusive photos it obtained show the diesel-powered sub's bow sustained extensive damage. Citing sources familiar with the submarine, the CBC said the sub's pressure hull may be heavily damaged, which could mean it will never go to sea again.

Navy officials -- who have issued only a one-page statement on the accident, which was blamed on the sub's captain, Lt. Cmdr. Paul Sutherland -- say the damage is being assessed, the CBC reported.

"I was gobsmacked. I had no idea that this level of damage had occurred," Sen. Colin Kenny, a former head of the Senate Defense Committee, told the CBC. "That may explain why the navy took it out of the water at night."

There were 60 sailors aboard when the sub hit bottom in about 150 feet of water off the British Columbia coast last June.

"I think the psychological impact of what can be described as a near-death experience would have a profound effect on some of these individuals," Kenny said.

The loss leaves Canada without a submarine capable of firing a torpedo, the CBC said.

Canada's sub fleet consists of four used British vessels it bought in 1998. The Chicoutimi was hit by a deadly fire hours into its first voyage under Canadian control; the Victoria has a dented hull that prevents it from diving deep; and the Windsor has been dismantled for retrofitting.

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