HMCS Charlottetown on Syncrolift

Charlottetown on the Syncrolift
HMCS Charlottetown was recently on the Syncrolift for maintenance and repairs.
Photo credit: PO2 Brad Browne

HMCS Charlottetown undergoes maintenance, repairs on Syncrolift

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

After returning in January from a busy six-month deployment to the Mediterranean on Operation Reassurance, HMCS Charlottetown recently received some cleaning, repairs and maintenance work while hoisted on the Syncrolift at HMC Dockyard. Charlottetown went up on the lift in mid-March and remained there for more than a month, being lowered back into the water on April 27.

The Syncrolift functions like an elevator for raising ships and submarines out of the water to be worked on. The vessel is positioned carefully over a platform while 30 extremely heavy duty cable winches work together to raise the platform, along with the ship, while the cables hold it in place. The 50 year-old piece of machinery, which has been upgraded and modernized multiple times, has been busy as of late, with HMCS St. John’s and HMCS Summerside also being lifted out of the water over the last six months, along with HMCS Windsor, which was lifted out in October of 2016 and is currently housed in the Submarine Maintenance Shed.

While it was docked, workers from FMF Cape Scott attempted to identify the cause of a small issue that’s been nagging the ship in recent years. Engineers have noted an increased level of wear on Charlottetown’s outboard Intermediate A-bracket bearings, and staff have needed to conduct in-water replacements of the bearings, which are intended to last the life of the ship.

The parts were repaired again while the ship was on the lift, but a thorough investigation into the root cause of the problem was also conducted. Working with DRDC Atlantic and Thordon Bearings, FMFCS mechanical engineers performed a load test on Charlottetown’s shaft line bearings, which showed that the parts were supporting the shaft correctly, and the team also inspected the outboard bearings and shaft line. During that latter investigation, a number of minor defects were spotted which would have been very difficult for divers to identify if the ship hadn’t been lifted out of the water.

“We were able to rectify a number of the defects that will hopefully extend the life of Charlottetown’s existing bearings; and furthermore, we were able to gain some valuable information that will help lead us to the root cause of the advanced wear,” said Liam Jeffery, a Mechanical Engineering Supervisor at FMFCS.