HMCS Chicoutimi Woes
Excerpts: The Oct. 5 blaze, during Chicoutimi's transatlantic voyage crippled the submarine and left one officer dying and 10 other crew members suffering from smoke inhalation.
"In most Western navies, he would be temporarily relieved of command, at least pending the outcome of the inquiry. But Adm. MacLean left Cdr. Pelletier as Chicoutimi captain while the wrecked submarine was ignominiously hauled to Halifax aboard a giant heavy-lift vessel."
The captain's approval is required before Canadian submariners can leave both hatches in the conning tower open at the same time. The board of inquiry reopened to examine the chain-of-command decisions by Cdr. Pelletier and whether the British Upholder-class boats had fundamental design flaws. It found problems with insulation on main power conduits penetrating bulkheads. The insulation, though fireproof, was not waterproof.
Were Gen. Hillier to overrule Adm. MacLean, the latter could "walk the plank" rather than seek to punish Cdr. Pelletier. In the admiral's view, Cdr. Pelletier and Chicoutimi were victims of a catastrophic, but unforeseeable set of circumstances.
Hint: Do not think of SSN-711, the Canadian Submarine Navy is not the world's premiere force.
What will happen here? (a) Adm. MacLean has already walked the plank and his career is finished; (b) Pelletier is finished; (c) Brittain will pay some damages.