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HMCS Protecteur not protected from fire

Several crew members have suffered minor injuries from an engine room fire aboard the Canadian naval vessel HMCS Protecteur off Hawaii.

The 44-year-old supply ship was returning to its home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia when the blaze broke out Thursday night.

Sailors put out the flames, the Department of National Defence said in a statement Friday morning.

"Crew members are managing the situation," it said. "Personnel sustained minor injuries but are safe and they are being treated on board."

Crew on the 172-metre-long ship contacted headquarters at CFB Esquimalt at 10:20 Pacific time on Thursday night to report the fire.

HMCS Protecteur is currently 630 kilometres northeast of Pearl Harbor and has limited power.

The U.S. destroyer USS Michael Murphy has been sent to assist Protecteur, and the Canadian vessel is expected to return to Pearl Harbor for an assessment of the damage.

The ship was carrying 279 crew, 17 family members and two civilian contractors returning to B.C. from extended operations in the mid-Pacific.

The aging supply ship was in a collision last fall with the HMCS Algonquin warship en route to Hawaii.

The accident caused the worst damage to the Algonquin but the Protecteur suffered damage to it front end. Both ships were forced to forego a planned voyage to Australia and return to port in Esquimalt for repairs.

Protecteur is an auxiliary oil replenishment ship, one of two such vessels in the navy that were launched in 1969.


The Canadian Press


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