HMCS Victoria (SSK–876)

HMCS Victoria

HMCS Victoria June 2013 (Photo from the Salmon collection.)

An uncommon sight on Canada’s west coast is a submarine on the surface. Dan and Lynn Salmon photographed HMCS Victoria on the surface transiting south of Nanaimo BC on June 16th, 2013. Nearby is the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges which operates a torpedo testing range, so it is presumed that she may have been test firing her Mark 48 torpedoes.

HMCS Victoria is a long–range hunter–killer submarine of the Royal Canadian Navy. She is named after the City of Victoria, British Columbia. She was purchased from the Royal Navy, and is the former HMS Unseen (S41). She is covered in anechoic tiles to reduce her detection by active sonar.

The purchase of four vessels in her class has been controversial and all four have been plagued with technical problems. HMCS Victoria suffered damage in 2006 and was dry–docked for extensive and lengthy repairs. On July 17, 2012, she successfully fired a Mark 48 torpedo, striking and sinking the USNS Concord (a de–commisioned surplus US Navy vessel) as part of the RIMPAC 2012 exercises. HMCS Victoria was declared fully operational in 2012, and as might be expected from the ‘Silent Service’ there has been very little reporting of her movements.

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