- A Canadian ship serving as the flagship for one of NATO’s standing naval groups has been damaged by fire off the coast of Norway.
- The frigate is proceeding to port under its power and is still serving as the NATO flagship.
A Canadian ship serving as the flagship for one of NATO’s standing naval groups has been damaged by fire off the coast of Norway.
According to a NATO social media post, the blaze occurred aboard HMCS Fredericton on Thursday morning local time.
The crew extinguished the fire.
“There were zero injuries, and the ship is going towards a Norwegian port to conduct repairs,” NATO Maritime Command said in a Twitter statement.
Canada’s military operations command reported that the fire was confined to the forward engine room on social media.
A spokesperson for operations command, speaking in the background, said the fire was discovered before sunrise by one crew member and quickly put out.
The frigate is proceeding to port under its power and is still serving as the NATO flagship.
News reported in early 2020 that Canada’s fleet of front-line frigates had at that point reported ten shipboard fires or smoke incidents over the previous two years.
The commander of the navy at the time, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, said all of the episodes were minor. However, they also served as a stark reminder that the warships, built in the 1990s, are now in the second half of their operational lifespans and will require more attention and upkeep.
McDonald is now a full admiral and was appointed chief of the defence staff but is on leave.
Only a few of the fires were reported publicly by the Department of National Defence (DND) between 2018 and 2020.
A written summary of onboard fires released by DND in 2020 revealed that one of the warships, HMCS Regina, experienced multiple fires — two in the fall of 2018 and another in the spring of 2019 — while conducting “at-sea readiness training in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the Asia Pacific.”
That same warship suffered a fourth “smoke incident” in 2019 when a faulty transformer in a forward electrical switchboard began to smoke.
HMCS Calgary and HMCS Toronto has gone through two fires each over those two years,
HMCS Halifax, the oldest ship in the fleet, also suffered two fires. The more significant one broke out in the engine room during 2018 while the frigate participated in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture.
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