Navy supply ship dented in Halifax drydock crash
A Halifax ship and drydock are both seriously damaged after the ship rammed the floating dock at the Irving Shipyard this afternoon.
HMCS Preserver, a supply ship with the Royal Canadian Navy, had just made a turn in the Halifax Harbour when its front end struck Irving's Nova drydock shortly after 2:30 p.m.
"The ship, just after it happened there were tugs there, and basically brought the ship alongside right here in the dockyard," says Maj. Paul Doucette.
Bill Ruether was on the Dartmouth side, opposite the ship and drydock, and he witnessed the collision. He says the sound of the crash was so loud everyone on the Dartmouth side could hear it.
"It was incredible noise, like two trains hitting one another," says Ruether.
There were 300 crew members on board the ship at the time, but there are no reports of injuries.
There was no ship docked for work, but there were a few men working to prepare for the coast guard ship Louis St. Laurent to arrive on Monday. Work on that ship could be delayed due to the damage sustained at the dock.
Ruether says there were several blasts on the ship's horn, which sent the shipyard workers scrambling for safety.
"What made us take notice when he was coming out was the air horns going, the three blasts of the air horns and it wasn't stopping, then we saw the collision," says Ruether.
Irving confirms there is a 25-foot dent and a three-foot gash in the side of the drydock. Ladders along the side are also smashed.
Irving says the damage to the dock is above the safety line so the dock is secure, but it will have to be repaired and re-certified.
HMCS Preserver also sustained serious damage to its bow.
"As far as damage sustained, the area's been sustained basically to the bow area, the front of the ship on the starboard side, the right side," confirms Doucette.
The vessel is one of two oil replenishment ships in the Royal Canadian Navy, and is mainly used to carry and supply fuel to navy ships and helicopters without returning to port.
A few months ago the 42-year-old Preserver underwent an extensive refit at the Nova dock, and it spent the last week at sea doing engineering trials.
It was returning to the dockyard with the collision occurred, and now it will have to come back for repairs.
There are reports the ship lost power before the crash, but the navy hasn't confirmed that.
"We don't have any specific information about that right now," says Doucette. "Of course the incident is under investigation."
With files from CTV Atlantic's Rick Grant