A tug helps to separate fishing trawler American Dynasty from the hull of HMCS Winnipeg after the Dynasty slammed into the bow of the naval frigate last month. Investigations into the collision are ongoing.

A tug helps to separate fishing trawler American Dynasty from the hull of HMCS Winnipeg after the Dynasty slammed into the bow of the naval frigate last month. Investigations into the collision are ongoing.

Extent of damage to warship still unknown: CFB Esquimalt

Still no sense of the timeline involved in completing investigation into fishing trawler's collision with HMCS Winnipeg

The extent of the damage to a Canadian Navy warship at CFB Esquimalt won’t be known for months, but officials are beginning tests on the fishing vessel responsible for the collision.

On April 23, the fishing trawler American Dynasty slammed into HMCS Winnipeg at “C’ Jetty at CFB Esquimalt, damaging both ships and the jetty where the Winnipeg was docked.

Early reports indicated the Dynasty’s throttle may have become stuck as it approached the drydock, sending its bow directly into the port side of the frigate, said Raymond Mathew, regional manager for TSB Pacific marine investigations.

While the navy is conducting its own investigation into the collision, Transportation Safety Board officials are working to replicate the reported glitch.

“There are further tests that will be carried out on the engines of the fishing vessel,” Mathew said.

“Investigators have completed the dry-docking procedure (on the Dynasty) and will now conduct tests to attempt to replicate the engine failure.”

The Winnipeg was set to begin sea trials at the end of 2013 after a multi-million dollar overhaul, but was not expected for fleet operations until at least 2014, said Lt.-Cmdr. Desmond James, navy public affairs officer.

Winnipeg was in extended readiness when all this happened,” he said. “There is no immediate impact to (coastal defence) operations … but to give a timeline for the investigation, it’s impossible to do that right now.”

The Winnipeg is one of 12 Canadian naval frigates that has or are scheduled to undergo technology retrofits as part of a program projected to cost $3.1 billion (2007 estimate).

dpalmer@vicnews.com