Navy rescues Canadian military ship, crew

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A Canadian navy ship disabled by an engine fire pulled into Pearl Harbor under tow Thursday morning with nearly 300 sailors aboard.

U.S. Navy tug boats guided the HMCS Protecteur to a pier after making a slow journey from Pacific Ocean waters north of Hawaii.

The ship is based at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, near Victoria, B.C.

The ship got help from the U.S. Navy after the fire broke out last week, leaving 20 sailors with minor injuries, the Royal Canadian Navy said. The fire engulfed a space as large as a school gymnasium, three or four stories high. The Canadian navy said a doctor treated sailors for dehydration, exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Sailors came off the ship having not shaved or showered in a week. The ship lost power amid the fire and did not regain it during the trip to Pearl Harbor.

Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, leader of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, said the ship encountered “an absolute worst-case scenario” of a major fire on board a tanker in the middle of the ocean at night, compounded by the power loss.

“The leadership on board, the professionalism of the sailors and the courage displayed to get through this has been absolutely exceptional,” he said after meeting the ship.

Auchterlonie expressed his gratitude for the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy’s help during the ordeal. “I can’t thank them enough for the great job they did in helping our sailors get back to port safely,” he said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Mosson said he had just sat down to have a cup of coffee in the cafeteria when he heard the alarm. He immediately went down below and grabbed a hose to cool off the deck.

The heat was so intense, his eyeglasses melted when he set them down.

“Our boots were starting to melt to the deck from the heat,” he said. “(We were) overcome with smoke. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.”

Mosson, from Brandon, Manitoba, said his training kicked in and his mind went blank as he focused on fighting the fire.

Now that he’s back on land, Mosson said he’ll first take a shower — “a very long one at that.”

He’s looking forward to returning to Canada.

“As soon as I get home, I’m going to grab my wife, my son, my stepdaughter and I’m never going to let them go,” he said.

The fire was under investigation, and Cmdr. Al Harrigan of Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters said getting the ship back to a dock was the first step in that process and eventually guiding the vessel back to Canada.

The 44-year-old Protecteur was on its way home from a three- to four-week deployment, he said.

The Protecteur is a supply ship that refuels and provides food and parts to other navy vessels at sea.

Earlier this week, an American guided-missile destroyer took 19 relatives of the Canadian crew back to Hawaii. The family members had been traveling with the Protecteur as part of a regular program allowing relatives to join crews on return trips from long missions. The rest of the crew stayed with the Protecteur, except for one crew member who cut his hand, Harrigan said.

The tow was initially complicated by rough seas that caused the tow line to break Sunday. But the deep-water ocean tug USS Sioux took over the towing, and the escort saw better conditions later in the week.

The Protecteur was scheduled to be retired next year.

More in Local News

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Woman confronts man leaving house with stolen item

“He swung at her with a crowbar, missing her.”

Police seek suspect in Wells Fargo bank robbery

He was described as white, in his 30s, heavyset, with blonde hair and a maroon sweatshirt.

Possible bobcat sighting keeps Snohomish students inside

The creature was spotted on the campus of Valley View Middle School around noon.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Most Read