The hull of the Royal Canadian Navy ship HMCS Athabaskan was damaged when it broke loose from its tow line last week and went adrift off Scatarie Island in Cape Breton, CBC News has learned.

The Iroquois-class destroyer, which is currently docked in North Sydney, has at least seven holes in its hull along with several dents and scrapes. It also appears the ship's frame may be warped along the waterline.

The Royal Canadian Navy declined to comment to CBC News about the extent of the damage.

HMCS Athabaskan was in St. Catharines, Ont., for a refit and was on its way to Halifax for the winter when it went adrift on Friday night.

The tow line to the 130-metre vessel was reconnected with the help of a Cormorant helicopter from the airbase in Greenwood, N.S.

There was no one on the ship at the time of the incident.

HMCS Athabaskan went adrift off the same island where the bulk carrier MV Miner went aground in September 2011.

The MV Miner was on its way to Europe when the tow line snapped. The rusting ship is still beached off Scatarie Island despite several attempts to refloat it.