A British MP says Great Britain knew submarines it sold to Canada in 1998 had problems, and that Canadians really got a bad deal and should ask for their money back.
The Canadian government spent $750 million (Can. dollars) back in 1998 for four British Victoria-class second-hand submarines. None of them is operational, and a series of glitches have added a lot of money to the original costs. One is rusting, one caught fire during its maiden voyage in 2004, taking the life of a sailor, and another one can't submerge too deep, because of a fissured hull.
British Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock is clear about one thing: Canada got a bad deal. "I'm appalled we've done a dumb deal with an ally like this", said Hancock to CBC News. But the British politician could also not believe that Canadians were "daft enough to buy them". In any event, the MP for Portsmouth South has decided to table questions about the deal in British Parliament.
The four submarines in question have been renamed by the Canadian government as HMCS Chicoutimi, HMCS Victoria, HMCS Corner Brook and HMCS Windsor. They were bought to replace three Oberon class submarines retired in 2000. None of the new "modern" submarines is capable of firing a Canadian torpedo, according to CBC News.
Mike Hancock believes the bad deal was due to incompetence on the part of Canadians or to good salesmanship from the British. Either way, he says Canada should ask for a refund. In the meantime, the Royal Canadian Navy website insists that its submarines are an "indispensable asset".