Author Topic: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget  (Read 19427 times)

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Navy battles mould in frigate ventilation systems

All of Canada's front-line navy frigates have had serious mould problems, something that has routinely affected the health of sailors deployed overseas, a CBC News investigation has determined.

The navy has struggled to deal with the blight in the ventilation systems of the warships since it was first documented aboard HMCS St. John's in the fall of 2011, but a former senior commissioned officer says his repeated pleas to fix the situation fell on deaf ears.

More at link:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadian-frigates-mouldy-1.3685779

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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 08:48:54 »
Jesus...these next 2 quotes are only inches apart in the article.

Quote
The commander of the East Coast fleet, Commodore Craig Baines, acknowledged mould is a fleet-wide concern, but said the navy has been proactive to come up with a solution outside of the refit program.

Quote
"We have absolutely no concern about the mould in the ships," Baines told CBC News in an interview.

 ::)

If what the reports from the other HMCSs inspection detailed in the article are even half true, maybe the good Commodore could explain how he has "absolutely no concern" for his ships and more importantly, their crews.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 09:24:23 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 08:59:28 »
For as long as I have sailed in frigates, the AC unit condensation issues have been a known problem. It was not unusual to have to keep your gortex rain jacket on top of your rack to keep it from getting soaked as condensation poured from the chiller units over head when the ship rolled.

We would routinely have electrical equipment destroyed in the Aircrew Ready Room (ADR), unless we modified the AC unit and added a drain line to dump the water down and away from anything important.

I am surprised it has taken this long to figure out that there is a mould issue.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 09:50:41 by SeaKingTacco »

Offline milnews.ca

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 09:47:21 »
If what the reports from the other HMCSs inspection detailed in the article are even half true, maybe the good Commodore could explain how he has "absolutely no concern" for his ships and more importantly, their crews.
Based only on what's written, it sounds like he has enough confidence in the solutions that even though it's there, it's not a worry.

That said, I can't read the mind of either the Good Commodore, the former CPO or the reporter - and I can't read documents that don't appear to have been shared with media consumers.  Usually, if the docs are obtained via ATIP, they can be or are shared.  Any other acquisition method = no can share.
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Offline blackberet17

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2016, 09:52:47 »
Quote
...but a former senior commissioned officer...

Quote
... former chief petty officer Patrick MacLaughlin...

No disrespect, but unless I failed Basic, a CPO is not a "senior commissioned officer".
« Ne vous occupez pas d'eux; ils ne savent pas tirer. [...] Il y a des ennemis devant nous, derrière nous et sur nos flancs. Il ne reste qu'une place sans danger, soit vers l'objectif. » Paul Triquet, VC

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2016, 10:27:53 »
No disrespect, but unless I failed Basic, a CPO is not a "senior commissioned officer".

Well the media often gets our rank system confused and turned inside out.  I was reported as being a CPO1 6 months ago in the Chronicle Herald, I am actually a PO2...

These "follies" seem to be par for the course now. 
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2016, 10:46:27 »
No disrespect, but unless I failed Basic, a CPO is not a "senior commissioned officer".

The bottom of the article features this:
Quote
Clarifications

Clarifies MacLaughlin's rank in paragraph 2.
Jul 25, 2016 9:53 AM ET   
Perhaps it was initially misreported as a Snr Officer rank.  Regardless, I don't think that's the key issue.
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented, and absolutely terrifying.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2016, 10:51:09 »
Based only on what's written, it sounds like he has enough confidence in the solutions that even though it's there, it's not a worry.

That said, I can't read the mind of either the Good Commodore, the former CPO or the reporter - and I can't read documents that don't appear to have been shared with media consumers.  Usually, if the docs are obtained via ATIP, they can be or are shared.  Any other acquisition method = no can share.

Agreed, but the rest of the article sort of makes his lines sound...questionable? 

If the refugees we brought to Canada recently were made to live in mouldy living conditions for years, the press and opposition would have a field day.  If its just our citizens who volunteer to serve their country in uniform...meh.  No biggy.   :nod:
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Offline milnews.ca

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2016, 11:00:14 »
Agreed, but the rest of the article sort of makes his lines sound...questionable? 
And this would be the first time in Veritas history the lines are more ... optimistic/charitable ... than the REST of the story?  ;D
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Offline blackberet17

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2016, 11:03:45 »
Regardless, I don't think that's the key issue.

Well aware, it was just something I noted in the article.

I thought it...the word escapes me...disingenuous? In any case, the two paragraphs regarding the clawed-back maintenance budget, and the lapsed/unused budget funds being returned, the two are not necessarily connected  - was it funds budgeted for maintenance which were being returned, or was it funds for (an)other budget item(s)?
« Ne vous occupez pas d'eux; ils ne savent pas tirer. [...] Il y a des ennemis devant nous, derrière nous et sur nos flancs. Il ne reste qu'une place sans danger, soit vers l'objectif. » Paul Triquet, VC

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2016, 12:39:33 »
The former CPO a while back posted quite a few pictures and other documents on a RCN face book group and made a lot of wild claims. He was told to cool it, persisted and was banned. Mold is always a problem with ventilation systems that deal with recirculated air. I wonder is PMed was involved with air quality testing on board. I found the same when I was sailing on a different Class of ship, people would develop a hack after a few weeks. It mostly has to do with recycled air, constant AC and other factor, persistent mold was not a problem.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2016, 12:45:33 »
Shack hack is common in army barracks as well. Lots of people in close quarters, that stuff spreads rapidly.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2016, 12:55:53 »
The former CPO a while back posted quite a few pictures and other documents on a RCN face book group and made a lot of wild claims. He was told to cool it, persisted and was banned. Mold is always a problem with ventilation systems that deal with recirculated air. I wonder is PMed was involved with air quality testing on board. I found the same when I was sailing on a different Class of ship, people would develop a hack after a few weeks. It mostly has to do with recycled air, constant AC and other factor, persistent mold was not a problem.

The article makes reference to Navy documents and inspections and the like.  Not "crazy CPO Bloggins" FB group stuff.
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Offline Lightguns

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2016, 13:12:13 »
Shack hack is common in army barracks as well. Lots of people in close quarters, that stuff spreads rapidly.

Common in all recycled air buildings, had in J7 in Gagetown.  Our roof vents were always moldy during winter.  Come spring they would clean the vents.
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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 13:18:50 »
If the refugees we brought to Canada recently were made to live in mouldy living conditions for years, the press and opposition would have a field day.  If its just our citizens who volunteer to serve their country in uniform...meh.  No biggy.   :nod:
Good point - although I suspect the lines to deal with the bit in orange would be just as optimistic as the ones we've seen on the bit in yellow.  All Info-machines are pretty similar that way.
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2016, 13:22:08 »
I found the same when I was sailing on a different Class of ship, people would develop a hack after a few weeks. It mostly has to do with recycled air, constant AC and other factor, persistent mold was not a problem.

There's relatively inexpensive solutions to those problems, just needs someone to write it into a refit spec, or for that matter, very easy for crew on board to do.

Given how many folks the navy jams into a boat, investing in UV sterilizers for the AHUs would pay off productive man hours.

They take up no space (typically mounted inside the duct itself), and are very simple to install (powered from an existing lighting circuit.

May or may not affect positive pressure for NBCD protection, may require some study, to be honest I'm not sure if there's any notable reduction in air flow.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 13:25:14 by Not a Sig Op »
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Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2016, 13:44:30 »
The article makes reference to Navy documents and inspections and the like.  Not "crazy CPO Bloggins" FB group stuff.

No the stuff was legit, he was told to take it down because it was a possible issue of protected material. He was also going on about possible claims and medical pensions. This was the same guy, he was working in NDHQ.
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Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2016, 13:46:49 »
There's relatively inexpensive solutions to those problems, just needs someone to write it into a refit spec, or for that matter, very easy for crew on board to do.

Given how many folks the navy jams into a boat, investing in UV sterilizers for the AHUs would pay off productive man hours.

They take up no space (typically mounted inside the duct itself), and are very simple to install (powered from an existing lighting circuit.

May or may not affect positive pressure for NBCD protection, may require some study, to be honest I'm not sure if there's any notable reduction in air flow.

Pretty good idea, on the class of ship that I have sailed on we have its 6 furnace type filters in the AHU.
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Offline gryphonv

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2016, 13:56:55 »
Now this is in the media, I wonder if there is going to be a sudden increase in VAC claims with people who has respiratory issues that sailed on the ships?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 14:24:19 by gryphonv »

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2016, 14:18:02 »
Now this is in the media, I wonder if there is going to be a sudden increase in VAC claims with people who has respiratory issues that said on the ships?


If it was a case of unsafe working conditions that led to chronic illness yes I would imagine it would.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2016, 18:15:13 »
Pretty good idea, on the class of ship that I have sailed on we have its 6 furnace type filters in the AHU.

We discussed installing them on a rig I worked on, ultimately the rig was scrapped before we got around to it.

It seemed like a good idea though (we also had concerns about the positive pressure, as we were supposed to be able to maintain a positive air pressure in the accommodations block, we didn't "think" it would be an issue, but we didn't have a definitive answer either without a pressure test. I'd guess the manufacturer could give you a spec on the air flow reduction, and you could likely confirm with a hand held anemometer), as we had just enough crew on board to make the place work, there was no such thing as redundant positions, so loosing man-hours to sickness wasn't a desirable option.

http://housesogreen.com/2014/07/hvac-uv-lights-for-ac-systems-do-they-work/

There's a few downsides mentioned in that link, but most of them involve damage of plastics, I'm guessing there's not too many plastics in the AHU on a frigate.

Coincidentally, I always assumed getting sick on board ship was "normal" before working on that rig, turns out I had just sailed with a bunch of dirt piggies, if everyone is good about washing their hands and using supplied hand sanitize, on board illnesses could kept to a minimum.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 18:18:02 by Not a Sig Op »
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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2017, 07:09:58 »
A bump with the latest story in the mould issue onboard ship.  Shared under fair dealings provisions.

Quote
Exclusive
Health trouble brought on by mould exposure ends sailor's career

Doctor refers to former sailor as a 'canary in a coal mine' when it comes to mould exposure

By Murray Brewster, CBC News  Posted: Jul 19, 2017 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jul 19, 2017 5:00 AM ET

A former sailor who served for almost a decade has been diagnosed with a debilitating lung condition, which his civilian doctor and now Veterans Affairs attribute to his exposure to mould and possibly diesel fumes aboard two navy destroyers, CBC News has learned.

The case of retired lieutenant Alan Doucette, 36, who now lives in Moncton, N.B., may have far-reaching implications for the military, which began last week to institute a series of health hazard air quality checks aboard its patrol frigates.

Last year, a CBC News investigation documented how the navy has struggled for years to deal with the blight in the ventilation systems aboard its recently refurbished warships.

The new set of tests, which started aboard HMCS Winnipeg on July 15, will eventually be conducted fleet-wide.

A deployable health hazard assessment team is trying to determine if engineering fixes to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system have controlled or mitigated the mould problem.

Battling the blight is an age-old concern for any warship.

Senior navy officials have insisted that whenever mould is found it's cleaned up and, more importantly, there have been no reports of health issues.

But Doucette says, in his case, the suspicion that poor air quality, specifically mould exposure, was behind his condition was documented by a civilian specialist in Halifax and was presented to military doctors as far back as 2009.

He was medically released from the navy in 2012 after being deemed unable to deploy.

A pair of now retired destroyers, HMCS Iroquois and HMCS Athabaskan, were full of mould, Doucette said, adding he first reported his breathing difficulty and health concerns in 2007.

"There was extensive mould, I noticed, in the bulkheads, in the joints," Doucette, a former maritime warfare officer, told CBC News. "It was pretty much dripping down the walls and on the ceiling."

He said he's convinced mould, rather than diesel fumes, was the biggest factor because it was often present in the sleeping quarters and parts of the ship he frequented.

"There was black mould pretty much in all the living quarters," Doucette said. "It's taken seriously in civilian life, but apparently they didn't take it seriously for the military. I invested the best 10 years of life up until I got sick and they kicked me out."

Health risks

Experts say short-term exposure to mould can cause nasal and sinus congestion, coughs, as well as sore throats. It has been linked to asthma, nosebleeds and upper respiratory tract infections.

There is divided opinion in the medical community about long-term exposure, but some studies in the U.S. have suggested it can affect not only the lungs but the central nervous system, and lead to memory loss.

Pat McLaughlin, a retired chief petty officer who has been raising the alarm internally for years, has said many warship crew members leaving port expect to get sick on deployment.

Crew members routinely complained of what they called the "AC flu" and the "CPF hack," he said.

Doucette said his civilian doctor referred to him as the "canary in a coal mine" when it came to mould.

'This is not an allergy'

His military medical records, which he shared with CBC News, say his "exposure to fumes" was the cause of his health trouble, but the subsequent examination by a civilian specialist at the respirology clinic of the Halifax Infirmary noted the presence of mould as a likely cause.

"This is not an allergy," said one doctor's report, which noted his condition was likely the result of long-term exposure to "diesel fumes and mould."

Veterans Affairs agreed with the assessment, stating Doucette suffered from hyper-reactive airway disorder related to being around "volatile organic compounds."

Doucette said he knows others who have suffered the same respiratory illness, which include a debilitating cough and trouble breathing.

Since the original story last year, CBC News has separately documented claims by half a dozen serving members who claim mould exposure has made them sick. 

Most were not prepared to share medical records, and all of them asked that their names not be used. Talking to the media was, as one sailor in Halifax put it, "a career-limiting move."

Commodore Jeff Zwick, the commander of Canada's Pacific fleet, urged anyone with health worries to step forward.

"We have always taken these concerns very seriously," Zwick said in an interview with CBC News. "Our primary concern is to ensure that we have a safe and healthy environment for all of our sailors, which is why when we have instances of mould that we take very quick, immediate steps to address the issue."

Air quality assessments are routinely conducted aboard each warship, he said.

The navy made the same claim last year when the issue was first made public.

CBC News asked, under Access to Information legislation, for copies of those inspection reports and studies related to potential air quality health hazards.

Almost nine months has passed and National Defence has yet to release the documents. As of late last week, it could not say when they would be available.

Moisture buildup

The problem of mould aboard the navy's frigates has been potentially acute and was flagged as concern in 2011 aboard HMCS St. John's.

An inspection by an independent contractor found the precision air-conditioning units "were not effectively dehumidifying the ship."

That, according to the assessment report, created a gushing buildup of moisture within the system, which led to "conditions for harbouring respiratory bacteria" and "potential crew-wide health issues."

The problem was not dealt with during the multibillion-dollar midlife refit of the country's 12 frigates, which recently concluded.

Instead, the navy chose to institute a separate two-step engineering fix on the heating and cooling ventilation system, which Zwick said has shown results.

"Every indication we have today is that it has worked to improve the system," he said.

All 12 warships have gone through the first stage of the modifications, which allow for better moisture drainage from the air conditioning unit.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sailor-warships-mould-1.4211015

Offline gryphonv

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2017, 07:28:05 »
I've had a smokers cough for years, even though I don't smoke. I wonder if it's connected

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2017, 08:00:00 »
Ever wear Chemox......?  Something else to consider.

Offline gryphonv

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Re: The navy is broke,' says former sailor over maintenance budget
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2017, 09:29:13 »
Ever wear Chemox......?  Something else to consider.

Good Point. I try to block out the memories of those.