Icebreaker and research ship the Amundsen has been dry-docked for the rest of 2012 until crucial repairs are completed putting some experiments on hold.
The decision to dry-dock the 33-year-old vessel was taken after a Transport Canada inspection found cracks on four of the six engines. The Coast Guard does not know when the ship will be ready for usage again. Last year, the same type of repairs on the Pierre Radisson cost $15 million.
It remains to be seen what the Conservative government might do with this opportunity to cut the ship out of the budget. Liberal Fisheries and Oceans critic Lawrence MacAulay said, “With more cuts coming in this year’s budget, it remains to be seen how much of a priority this vessel and the vital scientific research it provides to Canadians will be for this Conservative government.”
ArcticNet has used the Amundsen for the past 10 years as a research vessel in order to study the impact of climate change in the Arctic. In 2002, it was modified to become a research vessel with $30 million worth of equipment on board.
The ship was scheduled to be at sea for 80 days during the summer. Although a lot of the research had been stalled, critical work will accomplished on other ships.