Canadian Navy Ship HMCS Protecteur Towed to Pearl Harbor After Fire

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 01:25 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The Canadian Navy ship HMCS Protecteur was expected to arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday via tow after an engine-room fire disabled the supply ship last Thursday.

The ship, based out of Esquimalt, British Columbia, was roughly 253 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor on Monday as it was being towed, traveling at 9 kilometers per hour, wrote CBC News.

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The U.S. Navy cruiser USS Chosin starting pulling the Canadian ship toward port in Hawaii over the weekend, but the tow line broke on Sunday. Officials told CBC News that a tow line from the U.S. fleet ocean tug USNS Sioux was added.

"In the conditions out there, towing is a very, very challenging operation and it doesn't always go as smoothly, and that's why the navy practices this type of situation all the time," Maritime Forces Pacific spokesman Lt.-Cmdr Desmond James told CBC News.

The engine fire on the Protecteur caused minor injuries to 20 of the 300 crew members onboard the ship, reported The Associated Press.

The U.S. Navy sent the USS Michael Murphy to help the disabled the Protecteur and returned to Pearl Harbor Tuesday with 19 of the family members and one Canadian sailor who cut his hand, Canadian Navy officials said told the AP.

It is common for family to join Canadian Navy crew members returning from long missions.

"We signed on for an adventure, and we got one," Arlene Veenhof, a family member, told the AP and other reporters after arriving in Hawaii.

Veenhof told reporters she and other passengers thought the ship was going through a drill Thursday when the engine room caught fire.

"We realized quickly it's for real," Wade Kehler told The Associated Press. Kehler's son is an officer on the Protecteur.

The Protecteur, which first launched in 1969, was scheduled to be retired in 2015, according to the CBC News. It left British Columbia with the HMCS Regina on Jan. 6 and was returning home from operations with the U.S. Navy when the fire happened.

"We're going to look after the crew. That's our No. 1 priority," Canadian Royal Navy Cmdr. Al Harrigan told the AP. "Once the ship is safely alongside then we'll start looking at what the actual damage was," Harrigan said. "We'll bring in our experts, they'll look at the situation, and that'll start the slow process of getting our ship ready to head back to Canada."

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