Submarine rescue hampered by weather

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The Independent Online

Attempts to rescue a submarine that was sold to the Canadian navy by Britainhave been delayed by bad weather.

Attempts to rescue a submarine that was sold to the Canadian navy by Britainhave been delayed by bad weather.

HMCS Chicoutimi is drifting 100 nautical miles of the north-west coast of Ireland after an onboard fire on Tuesday injured nine sailors and knocked out its engine. A second fire damaged an oxygen generator. The Royal Navy is attempting to tow the vessel to safety but its vessels are battling "treacherous" weather conditions.

The submarine became stranded only four days after it was formally handed over by the Ministry of Defence to the Canadians. It was the fourth second-hand Royal Navy submarine to exchange hands as part of a deal that has been plagued by escalating costs, delays and technical problems. It has been reported that Canada was considering suing Britain over the purchases.

Commodore Tyrone Pile, the Canadian fleet commander, said last night that any rescue attempt would be postponed after damage to the submarine was confirmed as worse than originally feared. The vessel, which has surfaced, is expected to be towed to Scotland tonight or tomorrow.

Commodore Pile said: "The restoring of propulsion in Chicoutimi is unlikely and the option to tow the boat will be undertaken as soon as conditions permit.

"This was a major fire, and it caused significant damage to the electrical cabling."

A doctor from the Royal Navy frigate, HMS Montrose, has managed to board the submarine to examine the crew who suffered smoke inhalation.

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