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article imageCanadian warship adrift in Pacific after engine room fire

By Karen Graham     Feb 28, 2014 in World
A fire originating in the engine room on the Canadian warship HMCS Protecteur has left the vessel adrift in the Pacific Ocean in heavy seas. The ship has no propulsion power and is waiting for a tugboat to arrive from Hawaii.
The fire broke out around 10:20 p.m. Thursday night as the ship was returning from an operational exercise with nearly 300 personnel on board, according to the navy.
Based in Esquimalt, British Columbia, the ship is now about 630 Kilometers northeast of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in seas with waves two to three meters in height. The U.S. Navy has responded and is sending the destroyer, USS Michael Murphy to lend assistance.
Protecteur personnel are conducting a full damage investigation into the fire. There are 279 naval personnel, 17 family members and two civilian contractors on board. It is a common practice with the Royal Canadian Navy ships to have family members on board during the last part of a sail when returning from an extended operations or exercise.
The ship will have to be repaired in Hawaii before it returns home. In August, the Protecteur was in a collision with another Canadian warship, HMCS Algonquin, during an exercise involving tow-approaches while en route to Hawaii.
The Algonquin suffered the worst damage, while the Protecteur suffered damage to her bow. Both ships had to return to Esquimalt for repairs, putting to rest a planned trip to Australia.
HMCS Protecteur is one of two auxiliary oil replenishment ships launched in 1969. The Protecteur and its sister ship HMCS Preserver, on the East Coast, will be retired in 2015, according to the navy.
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