Canada's Pacific fleet is under the microscope after word that there appears to have been a rather serious drug problem on HMCS Saskatoon.
A Military court heard testimony that a full one third of the ship's company were regularly using cocaine while posted aboard the Saskatoon, leaving the ship in a rather messed up state.
A Petty Officer who was transferred to HMCS Saskatoon in January 2006 in order to deal with the drug problem found his fellow sailors to be in an us against them scenario. With up to twelve members of the 31 person crew using the drug and basically controlling the remaining sailors who just kept a low profile and hoped for the best.
Chief Petty Officer Leonard Hern, detailed a ship seemingly out of control and telling a tale that could rival the Caine Mutiny, said Hern: "In my 38-year-long career, I have never seen such an appalling sight," Hern told the court. "The ship was disorganized, there was no discipline, and no trust among the crew."
Robert Carlson the former Chief Petty Officer, which in the Navy is pretty well the guy that runs the show for Non commissioned officers has been charged with possession and trafficking. His court martial is scheduled for the fall.
The Saskatoon made frequent stops in Prince Rupert over the last few years as part of its duties on the Pacific coast, crewed almost entirely by members of the Naval Reserve.
The tale of the Saskatoon will no doubt become a text book case for Naval Justice at how fast a ship can slip out of control of its officers and lead to the old axiom of the inmates running the asylum!