Nova Scotia

Police confirm vandalism after Coast Guard ship tumbled into water in N.S.

A Canadian Coast Guard ship is partially submerged in water at a shipyard in Sambro Head, N.S., after falling from its secured cradle in a case Halifax police are investigating as suspected vandalism.

Ship set for a refit slid from secured cradle into the water at Sambro Head, N.S., shipyard

Canadian Coast Guard Ship Corporal McLaren slipped off its cradle at the Sambro Head, N.S., shipyard. Halifax police are investigating. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

A Canadian Coast Guard ship is partially submerged in water at a shipyard in Sambro Head, N.S., after falling from its secured cradle in a case Halifax police are investigating as suspected vandalism.

The Coast Guard tweeted late Saturday morning that the CCGS Corporal McLaren had released from the cradle at the shipyard and then slid down the slip into the water.

The vessel is at the shipyard for a refit.

Gregory Wilkie, the captain of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Corporal McLaren, says a salvage company will recover the boat from the water. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

Police said in a press release Saturday afternoon their preliminary investigation revealed that someone damaged the slip which caused the ship to slide into the ocean. Police are treating the incident as suspicious. 

Ray Gallant, vice-president of operations with Canadian Maritime Engineering, said Saturday the shipyard was "entered by vandals" on Friday night. He says they cut the cradle cable and safety chain.

He said Halifax police are investigating to determine who was involved in "the act of vandalism."

Gallant said security checks determined the boat was still in its correct position around midnight. A subsequent check revealed the ship was in the water and the fire department was notified.

He said he is certain the cables were cut with a cordless mini-grinder.

"It's very obvious. If a cable fails, it frays. This was a clean straight cut."

He said the primary focus now is safety and the protection of the environment.

The vessel was at the shipyard for a scheduled refit. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

The Coast Guard sent environmental staff to the scene to examine the ship and try to prevent any risk to the marine environment.

Gallant says he believes minimal damage has been done to the vessel. The goal is to return it to its former position as quickly as possible to continue with the scheduled work on the ship.

Divers were in the water on Saturday to assess the situation.

With files from Mairin Prentiss