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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 10:57 GMT
Fire-hit submarine heading home
Recovery vessel
The vessel carrying the Chicoutimi makes its way out of Faslane
A stricken Canadian submarine has left the Faslane naval base at the start of its journey home.

HMCS Chicoutimi was towed to Scotland in October after a fire on board killed one crew member, Lieutenant Chris Saunders, and injured others.

The former Royal Navy vessel is making the crossing of the Atlantic on board a Norwegian transport ship.

A spokesman said: "The submarine will take around six or seven hours to get through the Clyde Estuary.

"The weather conditions were what stopped the captain from setting off earlier this week but they seem fine now."

The voyage to Halifax in Nova Scotia is expected to take a fortnight.

The Chicoutimi drifted for three days off Ireland after the fire, which broke out during the submarine's maiden voyage under the Canadian flag

Lieutenant Chris Saunders (Pic: Canadian Department of National Defence)
Lt Saunders died after the incident on HMCS Chicoutimi

An investigation found the blaze started in the commanding officer's cabin and a smaller one started in an oxygen generator.

Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin paid tribute to Lt Saunders, 32, a married father of two, saying he "gave his life serving his country and we owe his family our deepest condolences".

The Chicoutimi was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in the early 1990s. It was then refitted by BAE Systems before being recommissioned for service in the Canadian Navy.

The fire prompted Canadian opposition parties to accuse their government of buying "inferior submarines" on the cheap.

But UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the vessel had been brought up to Royal Navy standards.


SEE ALSO:
Stricken submarine heading home
07 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Church tribute to dead submariner
13 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Canada funeral for dead sailor
13 Oct 04 |  Americas
Memorial service for dead crewman
12 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Commander's sorrow for crewman
11 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Submarine crew back on dry land
11 Oct 04 |  Scotland


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