The History of the CHICOUTIMI (2nd)

HMCS Chicoutimi is a Victoria-class long-range hunter-killer (SSK) submarine of the Canadian Navy, originally built and operated by the Royal Navy as HMS Upholder. Shortly after being handed over from the UK to Canada she was involved in a partial flooding incident which resulted in a fire at sea.

HMCS Chicoutimi is named for the city of Chicoutimi, Quebec.

Chicoutimi was built for the Royal Navy as HMS Upholder (S40), the lead ship of the Upholder (2400) class of submarines, named after the original Upholder. She was laid down by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL) in February 1986, launched on 2 December 1986, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 7 December 1990. Her commissioning was delayed because of a potential problem with the operation of the torpedo tubes.

Looking to discontinue the operation of diesel-electric boats, the British government offered to sell Upholder and her sister submarines to Canada in 1993. The offer was accepted in 1998. The four boats were leased to the Canadians for US$427 million (plus US$98 million for upgrades and alteration to Canadian standards), with the lease to run for eight years; after this, the submarines would be sold off.

Chicoutimi was the last of the newly renamed Victoria-class vessels to be completed, and was handed over to the Canadians on 2 October 2004 at Faslane Naval Base. Two days later, Chicoutimi set sail for her new home port at CFB Halifax in Nova Scotia.

On 5 October 2004, Chicoutimi was surfaced and running through heavy seas 100 miles (160 km) north-west of County Mayo, Ireland when she suffered a major fire. There were several injuries due to smoke inhalation, as well as the tragic death of Lieutenant(N) Chris Saunders.

The crippled Chicoutimi was towed back to Faslane, Scotland. Afterwards, she was loaded onto a heavy lift ship and transported to Halifax, where she was drydocked for further work. In April 2006, it was announced that repair priorities had shifted; Chicoutimi would remain in drydock until at least 2010, and would likely not be seaworthy again until 2012.

Finally, in January 2014 it was announced that Chicoutimi was repaired and was being prepared to be handed back over to the navy. Chicoutimi began sea trials on 28 September 2014 and was handed over to the Royal Canadian Navy on 3 December 2014. The boat was officially commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 3 September 2015.

CHICOUTIMI (2nd) Statistical Data

  • Pendant: SSK 879
  • Type: Submarine
  • Class: Victoria (Ex-Upholder)
  • Displacement: 2,185 long tons (2,220 t) surfac tonnes
  • Length: 70.26 m / 230 ft
  • Width: 7.6 m / 25 ft
  • Draught: 5.5 m / 18 ft
  • Speed: 12 surfaced, 20 dived, 12 snorti kts
  • Compliment: 7 Officers and 40 Crew
  • Arms: Six forward 21" tubes for 18 Mk.48 Mod 4 torpedoes
  • Builder: VSEL, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Keel Laid: Feb-83
  • Date Launched: 2-Dec-86
  • Date Commissioned: 3-Sep-15
  • Paid off:


Former commissioned as HMS Upholder 7-Dec-90 and paid off 29-Apr-94. Later, sold to the RCN. Suffered fire-damage in 2004.

Keywords: HMCS CHICOUTIMI (2nd), Royal Canadian Navy Ship, Submarine, Victoria (Ex-Upholder) Class