Canadian Forces’ HMCS Ojibwa completed its 12-day journey from Halifax to Hamilton with a little help from Heddle Marine Service Inc. and McKeil Marine Limited.

“Hamilton Port Authority is proud that Heddle Marine and McKeil Marine call the port of Hamilton home and we are delighted to welcome Ojibwa into Hamilton, one of many interesting cargo types to move through the port.” says Ian Hamilton, Vice-President, Business Development.  The 2,500-tonne underwater giant entered Canadian services in 1965 and served the Royal Canadian Navy and NATO throughout the Cold War until its decommissioning in 1998.

Planning for the submarine’s 1,200-nautical-mile voyage required innovative marine solutions and a detailed engineering study of each step to verify stability, deck loading, sea fastening and effects that weather would have on the transportation process. Ojibwa traveled through the St. Lawrence River and across Lake Ontario on Heddle Marine’s floating drydock towed by the Florence M, part of McKeil Marine’s fleet.  “We are proud to be part of Project Ojibwa,” said Rick Heddle, who was in Halifax to supervise the loading of the submarine for its safe journey to Hamilton where it will spend the summer at the Heddle shipyard receiving some early restoration work and permanent cradles to assist in the transportation to its final destination.

On September 7th, Ojibwa will arrive by barge in Port Burwell where the 300-foot-long, five-story-high submarine will be transported overland to the Elgin Military Museum in St. Thomas, where it will be on permanent display. After extensive restoration over the upcoming winter, Ojibwa will open for tours in the summer of 2013.

Edward Norwich, a medic who served onboard Ojibwa for three years says, “Ojibwa is an important part of Canadian Heritage, one that deserves to be displayed proudly.  It had many great adventures, and its sailors were true-blue deep-sea submariners at their best.”

Heddle Marine Service Inc. is a full-service ship repair yard that provides repair services to all types and various sizes of vessels in the marine industry, and is the only marine repair firm that operates multiple floating dry docks on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.

McKeil Marine’s core business is providing marine transportation and project services for a wide array of industries.  With its skilled sailing and support crew, marine architects and engineers, the company works closely with customers to provide marine transportation solutions throughout the Great Lakes to Eastern Canada and the Arctic.