Updated Tuesday 27th June 2017 8:15am
Patrick Durrant | Sydney
Defence released a statement this morning signalling HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra will complete their unscheduled maintenance period this week after “rectification of emergent issues with their propulsion systems”.
The docking and inspection of HMAS Adelaide identified wear in some bearings in the port pod which is assessed to be the likely cause of the oil contamination, however the root cause of the wear has not been clarified as yet by Defence.
HMAS Adelaide will leave the Captain Cook graving Dock at Navy’s Fleet Base East today and will proceed with sea trials and a return to its operational capability program over the next few months.
Both Adelaide and her sister have been the subject of an intensive investigation after defects were found within Adelaide's azimuth propulsion pod systems.
On 29th May, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett testified before a Senate Estimates hearing of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee that trials had been conducted on HMAS Canberra between 17th and 18th May 2017, and that the test results of oil samples taken during those trials would be available within two weeks from the date of the hearing.
Last Friday a Defence spokesperson responded to ADM questions regarding the outcome of the trials:
“Subsequent to the work completed in HMAS Canberra alongside, a successful sea trials program was conducted with no demonstration of oil migration across the propulsion pod seals.
“Metal particulate levels in Canberra have been closely monitored throughout the sea trials and have not exceeded normal and acceptable levels. There is no evidence of excessive bearing loads in Canberra.
“The propulsion system has been recertified for seagoing operations with limited operational restriction in place until Canberra’s planned docking in Quarter 3 this year. This validates the disciplined and rigorous engineering approach to addressing propulsion pod issues.
“Defence is working closely with original equipment manufacturers BAE, Navantia and Siemens to identify the root causes.
The forensic investigation surrounding the issues is ongoing. In both statements Navy affirmed it that following analysis and advice from industry partners, it would continue planning for Canberra to participate in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 17; she will return to sea on 29th June.