Down for the count
Icebreaker Henry Larsen suffers major fire damage

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Jul 06/98) - She won't have to be buried at sea, but the Henry Larsen is out of commission for the season after suffering major fire damage.

Capt. Brian Penney, the director of operational services for Newfoundland, Penney said the icebreaker was moored to the dock in St. John's, Nfld., undergoing annual maintenance, when a fire broke out in one of the ship's engine rooms.

He said the damage to the engine room and the Larsen's wiring was so extensive that the ship will be forced to stay ashore.

"She won't be available for Arctic operations this year and she could be out of service until the spring," said Penney.

While the full cost and extent of the fire damage won't be known until sometime next month, Penney did say that the Henry Larsen requires "almost complete rewiring of the ship to put her back in service."

The vessel was scheduled to head North this month as part of a team of five icebreakers that provide support to commercial ships.

"They assist those through heavy ice and maintain commercial shipping."

Penney said the remaining four icebreakers would cover her area and he added that a smaller replacement, the Ann Harvey, would be out on the water in August to take some of the added pressure off the larger vessels.