While the back corner of the Sir John Franklin vessel was visibly crunched, a spokesperson for Seaspan could not be immediately reached to confirm an estimate on the damage. (Keri Coles/News staff)

New Coast Guard ship crashes into breakwater in Victoria

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

The brand new Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir John Franklin crashed into Victoria’s breakwater Friday, crumpling a side of its back end and sending a plume of concrete dust into the air, much to the surprise of pedestrians wandering out to the lighthouse.

“It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen,” said Brian Cant, manager of communications and marketing for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority – the not-for-profit corporation that owns the breakwater.

While small chunks of concrete were dislodged by the impact, Cant says an above-water inspection shows the damage to the breakwater to be superficial.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have a dive team looking at the structure on Monday or Tuesday,” said Cant.

What didn’t survive the impact were six pole nesting boxes designed for pigeon guillemots installed just one month prior – in the exact location of the crash.

The boxes were attached to the side of the wall in the last stretch before the lighthouse, taking up just a two-metre strip of the 762-metre long granite and concrete wall.

“Of the entire breakwater, that is where the ship hit,” said Cant in disbelief, before going on to say the nesting boxes will be rebuilt.

ALSO READ: Major rescue off Sooke is real incident, not part of training: Coast Guard

The extent of the damage to the ship is yet to be seen. While the back corner was visibly crunched, a spokesperson for Seaspan Shipyards could not be immediately reached for comment on the damage.

Sir John Franklin is the first of three new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) being built in Canada by Seaspan as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The OFSV vessels, which contain wet and dry labs, will be the primary offshore fisheries science platforms for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, carrying out science research missions. The ships will aid in monitoring the health of fish stocks, the ocean environment, and understanding the impacts of climate change.

Launched in December 2017 to much fanfare, Sir John Franklin is still in the hands of Seaspan while builder’s trials are conducted. The ship was expected to be delivered to Canadian Coast Guard by end of June.

It is unclear at this time what impact the crash will have on that deadline.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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While the back corner of the Sir John Franklin vessel was visibly crunched, a spokesperson for Seaspan could not be immediately reached to confirm an estimate on the damage. (Keri Coles/News staff)

While small chunks of concrete were dislodged by the impact, Brian Cant, manager of communications and marketing for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, says an above-water inspection shows the damage to the breakwater to be superficial. (Keri Coles/News staff)

While small chunks of concrete were dislodged by the impact, Brian Cant, manager of communications and marketing for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, says an above-water inspection shows the damage to the breakwater to be superficial. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Sir John Franklin was launched in December 2017 and was currently going through builder’s trials, with expected delivery to the Canadian Coast Guard by the end of June 2019. (Keri Coles/News staff)

While the back corner of the Sir John Franklin vessel was visibly crunched, a spokesperson for Seaspan could not be immediately reached to confirm an estimate on the damage. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The crash path of the new Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir John Franklin is shown on the marinetraffic.com website. (marinetraffic.com)

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