20 crew members have sustained injuries on board the Canadian warship HMCS Protecteur after a fire broke out at 10:20PM last night while returning home to Esquimalt, British Columbia. The ship is currently adrift 340 nautical miles northeast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) reports the fire broke out in the ship’s engine room and was eventually extinguished by the ship’s crew. “Personnel sustained minor injuries, but are safe and they are being treated on board,” notes the Navy in a posted statement.
Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, Commander of Canadian Pacific Fleet notes the vessel had spent the past 7 weeks operating in the Pacific and was carrying 279 crew plus 17 of the crew’s family members and two contractors. During a press conference this afternoon he gave high praise to the ship’s crew for handling the situation and putting out the fire. He notes that the injuries sustained were limited to “dehydration, exhaustion, and smoke inhalation.”
The RCN notes the ship and her crew are currently being assisted by the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Michael Murphy which is on scene at this time. A full assessment of the situation is being conducted to establish the extent of the damages and the impact on propulsion.
For both the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the U.S. Navy, having family members aboard the ship during a transit home is a common tradition, one highly valued by both sailors and their families.