Shortly after the submarine hit the sea floor off the BC coast the Navy reported it as just a fender bender? However it now turns out this fender bender was far more severe than the Navy said. Originally it was reported that the damage was limited to the submarines casing and some sonar equipment that was housed in a fiber glass casing. At the time it sounded reasonable and seemed the boat would soon be operational again. However it has now been revealed that impact was far greater than first reported. Apparently two outer torpedo tube doors were torn off in the collision. I can only imagine the extensive damage caused by this collision, Bow caps (torpedo doors) do not drop off easily, they like the rest of the pressure hull are designed to withstand great sea pressure. If they were destroyed in the contact with the sea floor then certainly much more damage has occurred. Perhaps not visible to the naked eye but there must be severe stress damage to the pressure hull. I’m not a scientist or metallurgist but as a submariner with eight years at sea in boats built during the second World War I would have serious concerns about the safety of Cornerbrook’s pressure hull. Certainly I would never want to sail in her and definitely not be aboard when she dived.
In my opinion the boat should be scrapped, waste no more money on this vessel. The Cornerbrook started life in the Royal Navy as HMS Ursula built in 1991 and commissioned in 1992, she is already twenty years old, after this latest refit is completed sometime in 2016,(maybe????) the boat will be 23/24 years old. The considered safe and effective life of a submarine is 30 years and Cornerbrook is getting very close to that deadline. Does it make any sense to spend millions more dollars on a boat that to date has given no value for money spent??
The only positive thing I can say about this accident is this, credit should be given to the builders “Cammell Laird” of Birkenhead England. The sea pressure on a submarine is enormous and to have two outer hatches torn off and the boat survive is amazing. Let me explain, all submarine hatches through the pressure hull are round. That shape is the strongest design, they all open outward, hence when dived the sea pressure keeps them shut tight, it would be quite impossible to open a hatch to sea without first equalizing the pressure inside the boat. In the case of Cornerbrook with two outer hatches open the inner tube door (which open into submarine) would have suddenly come under immense sea pressure from the flooded tubes. We can only thank God that they held and this boat survived, it must have been a frightening moment in the lives of those young sailors inside.
It seems in this day and age our leaders find it difficult to be honest with the Canadian public. Sending our brave young men and women to protect us on the sea, the land and in the air ill prepared and ill trained in questionable equipment must stop. If or when the Cornerbrook returns to operational status the Navy should invite the Prime Minister/Minister of defense and a few other politicians to join them on the maiden voyage under the sea.
God Bless and keep reading