Navy's choice of portable air quality monitors in submarines questioned

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Internal documents say navy engineers have decided not to install a central monitoring system to track air quality in Canada's oft-maligned submarines.

It is a move that's being questioned by some former submariners.

The system was part of the military's 13-year struggle to bring the British-built boats in line with North American standards and convert certain fixtures for Canadian use.

Engineers proposed a central monitoring system because of air-quality concerns on the four second-hand boats, which are required to remain submerged for extended periods of time.

But after a decade of study and some other fixes, the navy has dismissed the system as impractical and costly, opting instead to manage the problem with the use of portable monitors.

The decision surprises former submarine captain Ray Hunt, who calls the portable systems a throwback to another era at a time when technology should make such safety safeguards routine.