Team to probe crash of Coast Guard ship at Ogden Point

An independent investigation will try to determine why the Canadian Coast Guard’s newest ship, the Sir John Franklin, struck the Ogden Point breakwater on Friday.

Tim Page, vice-president of government relations for Seaspan Shipyards, said an initial review found the 206-foot vessel has damage to its propeller and its rudder, and has a dent on the port side toward the stern just above the water line. Seaspan built the Sir John Franklin.

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The incident happened as the ship was manoeuvring to come alongside after a successful first week of sea trials, Page said. No one was injured and the ship is safely docked at Ogden Point, he said. However, sea trials have been suspended until the ship can be repaired.

It will remain under Seaspan’s control until it is delivered to the coast guard. This will take place after sea trials and commissioning have concluded.

It’s not known how the incident will affect the delivery of the Sir John Franklin. The damage has to be fully assessed, said Page.

The Sir John Franklin, built for the Canadian Coast Guard, suffered a dent when it hit the Ogden Point breakwater. March 22, 2019

On Friday, Brian Cant, spokesman for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, which owns the breakwater and Ogden Point, checked on the breakwater with the organization’s director of infrastructure after the collision.

Damage to the breakwater above the water line is “really superficial,” he said. The collision happened about 100 metres from the lighthouse. A dive team will look at the underwater portion on Monday, he said.

The ship struck and destroyed recently installed bird nesting boxes. No birds had been using the nesting boxes, which were mounted on a piece of plywood fixed to the breakwater.

The vessel was built by Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver and launched in December 2017 before being brought to Victoria.

The Sir John Franklin was the first large vessel designed and built under the federal National Shipbuilding Strategy and is the first of three fisheries science vessels being built by Seaspan.

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