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2500-tonne Retired Submarine Hitches a Ride

The HMCS Ojibwa — a decommissioned submarine that will be turned into a museum exhibit — has completed its 12-day journey from Halifax to Hamilton with a little help from Heddle Marine Service Inc. and McKeil Marine Limited.  Transporting the 2500-tonne vessel, which is five storeys high and 300 feet long, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lake Ontario required some innovative marine solutions.

The Canadian Cold-war era submarine travelled on Heddle Marines' floating drydock towed by the Florence M tug, part of the McKeil Marine fleet.

“There were some challenges to it. We spent a number of weeks engineering everything, working out how the waves were going to affect it and how we would go about keeping it upright,” said company president Rick Heddle.

The system Heddle designed combined cribs under the sub’s hull, posts along its sides to hold it upright and cables securing it to the side of the dry dock. 

“We had three different methods of keeping it upright and each method was capable of holding 400 tonnes,” Heddle said. “We calculated the wave forces trying to tip it at about 400 tonnes so we put three different means, in case one failed we were still covered.”

The submarine arrived safely in Hamilton June 5 and  will spend the summer at the Heddle shipyard receiving some early restoration work and permanent cradles to assist in the transportation to its next destination.

On September 7th, the Ojibwa will arrive by barge in Port Burwell, where it will be transported overland to where she will become the centrepiece of the new Elgin Military Museum of Naval History.  After extensive restoration over the upcoming winter, the Ojibwa will open in the summer of 2013.

About Heddle Marine Services

Heddle Marine Service Inc. is a full service ship repair yard that provides expert repair services to all types and various sizes of vessels in the marine industry. Established in 1987, it is the only marine repair firm that operates multiple floating dry-docks on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.

About McKeil Marine

Operating since 1956, McKeil Marine's core business is providing cost effective marine transportation and project services for a wide array of industries.  With its skilled sailing and support crew, marine architects and engineers, the company works closely with customers to provide innovative marine solutions throughout the Great Lakes to Eastern Canada and the Arctic.