Monday, February 11, 2019

Seasickness keeps Canuck Coast Guard Heros in port in rough weather

Frostbacks, you have to face up to it! Canada is a nitwit country. Not just because you've got a useful fool as prime minister, but because it's part of your national character. Way more stupid-but-funny stories (proportionately) come to Walt from Canada than from the Excited States of America. Hey, come to think of it... maybe that's not such a bad thing. It's not good to take yourself too seriously, EH.

The latest Canadian story to tickle my funnybone comes today from out of the mist that hangs perpetually over Halifax, the east coast home of Canada's alleged navy, as well as its C$227-million ($170 million in real money) fleet of mid-shore coast guard vessels, like this one, the CCGS G. Peddle S.C.

The vessels, which are about 136 feet long by only 23 feet wide, are known as the "Hero" class since each is named after a heroic officer of the Canuck military, the Mounties, the Canadian Coast Guard or... wait for it... the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Their primary mission is fisheries enforcement and maritime security in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ships also provide search and rescue and pollution control.

The pollution control part is a bit tricky because the Hero-class ships keep "rolling like crazy" at sea, causing crews to spew a great deal of pollution over the rail. The seasickness is so bad that, according to a report dug up by the CBC, some ships have to be kept in port during harsh weather conditions.

The problem seems to be a lack of stabilizer fins -- blades that stick out from the hull to counteract the rolling motion of waves -- on the nine Heros built in Halifax by the Irving Shipyard between 2010 and 2014. So bad is the roll that a trip along the west coast required a DFO supervisor in BC to place rolled-up jackets under the outer edge of his bunk to keep him pinned against the wall, rather than tossed out onto the floor ["deck", shurely! Ed.] "It goes without saying that the crew [is] in favour of [stabilizers]," said supervisor Mike Crottey, in a fine example of the civil service penchant for saying things that don't need to be said. "Seasickness is felt both by conservation and protection and coast guard personnel and has an impact on vessel operation."

Mr Crottey said that in exposed water, the skipper of the CCGS M. Charles sets a weather course to "keep the ship from really rocking around," which can result in more fuel consumption and increased operating costs. "This course is based on the swell and the wind direction and is used [to] alleviate excessive ship motion and not based on the shortest distance to destination."

At the time the Heros were under construction, the Coast Guard decided it didn't need stabilizers. They deny there is any problem with the safety and stability of the fleet, but in a March 2017 "configuration change request", a project manager described "an increased hazard of crew injuries and program failures." Nearly two years later, the change request is still "under consideration". That's the Canadian way. Nitwit country.

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