Just one of those four submarines is seaworthy. Canada just has to hope there isn't a huge, major, worldwide war in the next few years.
Times Online June 29, 2006
A Canadian sailor is winched to safety from HMCS Chicoutimi on October 8, 2004 (MOD)
Navy surgeon decorated for submarine rescue
By Sam Knight
A Royal Navy surgeon has been given the highest award for bravery by the Order of St John today for saving the lives of Canadian sailors on board a stricken submarine.
Surgeon Lieutenant Michael Henry Lindsay, a member of HM Submarine Service, received the Life Saving Medal of the Order in Gold this afternoon for scrambling onto the outer hull of the Canadian submarine, HMCS Chicoutimi, as she wallowed in heavy seas 100 miles off the coast of Ireland in October 2004.
The submarine had caught fire and stopped dead in gale force winds 24 hours earlier, just three days after officially joining the Canadian fleet. One sailor, Lieutenant Chris Saunders, died and nine others were injured in the blaze, which was started by an electrical fault.
Winds of up to 50 knots and 25ft (7.6m) waves prevented a helicopter rescue, so Surgeon Lieutenant Lindsay was forced to jump from a Royal Navy rescue vessel onto the exposed hull of the boat. He then saved the life of one Canadian sailor suffering smoke inhalation by giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation and gave medical treatment to six others.
He stayed the night on board the submarine, overseeing the eventual evacuation of the wounded to the Royal Navy’s Primary Casualty Receiving Ship, RFA Argus, the following day.
HMCS Chicoutimi was one of four Royal Navy diesel-electric submarines sold to Canada in 1998 for £224 million. The handover of the vessels was beset by mounting costs and refitting problems that cost another £400 million. Nowadays, just one of the boats is seaworthy and HMCS Chicoutimi is not scheduled to be repaired until 2010.
The submarine was officially handed over to the Royal Canadian Navy on Saturday, October 2, 2004, when her name was changed from HMS Upholder to HMCS Chicoutimi. But just three days later, she was forced to the make an emergency surface when an electrical fire broke out on her number two deck.
For the next hour, Canadian sailors fought flames and melting metal. Two sailors, Master Seaman Marc Miller, a radio operator, and Petty Officer Aubrey Rice were subsequently awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, one of the Canada's most prestigious military decorations, for controlling the blaze.
Surgeon Lindsay was given his award at the Priory Church, Clerkenwell, London this afternoon. He was the fourth person to receive the Order of St John's highest award in the last seven years. The decoration was approved by the Queen. Surgeon Lindsay was also invested as a Serving Brother of the order, which was founded in Jerusalem 900 years ago.