The future of the Royal Canadian Navy’s only research vessel could be in jeopardy.
The 76-metre-long CFAV Quest and its 55-member crew have been involved in defence and ground-breaking oceanographic research throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic.
However, cuts in recent years have been placing an increasing financial burden on the navy, leading to the cancellation of CFAV Quest’s research mission.
Quest should be on a five-day project off the coast of Nova Scotia. Instead, the ship remains docked in Halifax.
“Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic has taken the decision to suspend the remainder of the sailing days scheduled for CFAV Quest between now and March 31, 2014,” the navy said in a statement to CBC News
New Democratic Party defence critic Jack Harris said docking Quest is just the latest blow to the navy.
“It’s an indication of how deep the government expects the military to cut,” he said.
Earlier this week, CBC News learned the only fire-fighting tugboat on the east coast is being stripped of its crew at night and on weekends. Then, a few weeks ago, the navy announced it was removing six of its coast patrol ships from active duty.
“I think Canadians should be concerned that we have a government that is actually doing damage to the kind of programs that we have, and rely on and we expect — whether it be the coast patrol vessels or the fire tug in Halifax harbour,” said Harris.
It’s unclear whether Quest will go to sea again.
“No long term decision has been taken regarding the future of CFAV Quest,” the navy said in a statement.
The navy can't say if its only research vessel figures in to next year's budget.