The Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the June 4, 2011, grounding of Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Corner Brook is complete. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Convening Authority for the BOI, has accepted the Board’s findings.
The BOI found that human error was the key contributing factor to the grounding of HMCS Corner Brook and that the technical and materiel readiness of the submarine did not contribute to the incident.
“This incident was avoidable,” said Captain (Navy) Luc Cassivi, Deputy Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific. “The grounding was caused by a failure to properly account for the positional uncertainty of the submarine in accordance with approved dived submarine navigational practices and techniques when operating in confined waters.”
The Board also found that the Commanding Officer of HMCS Corner Brook, Lieutenant-Commander P.A. Sutherland, had responsibility for the safe navigation of the submarine at the time of the grounding. After careful review of all of the findings, the Commanding Officer was removed from command and reassigned to a position ashore.
Inadequate training and experience were also found to be contributing factors in this incident. As a result, the RCN is amending submarine training manuals and making changes to training system and navigation planning practices to prevent a similar occurrence as the Victoria-class fleet nears full operational capability.
HMCS Corner Brook ran aground while conducting training in Nootka Sound. The grounding occurred when the submarine struck the south eastern wall of Zuciarte Channel as a result of the boat being south-east of its intended position. There were no serious injuries or operational delays as a result of the accident, however, Corner Brook incurred damage to her bow and experienced minor leakage in a forward ballast tank. As the grounding occurred just three weeks before Corner Brook’s scheduled extended maintenance period, assessments of the full extent of the damage and cost of repairs will be confirmed as the boat progresses through its maintenance cycle.
In July 2011, HMCS Corner Brook began preparations for the Victoria-class In-Service Support Contract Extended Docking Work Period. The boat will conduct this scheduled deep maintenance period at Victoria Shipyards Ltd., in Esquimalt.Backgrounders: HMCS CORNER BROOK Board Of Inquiry