JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sailors stranded by a fire on their Royal Canadian Navy ship one week ago are happy to be in Hawaii tonight.
Tugs towed the HMCS Protecteur into Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Thursday morning exactly 7 days after a fire stranded the tanker at sea. The anxious sailors were met by media and members of the U.S. Navy, who stepped up to rescue them.
Commanding Officer Jules Elbourne described their saga at sea, saying "The other night we found ourself in a situation no ship wants to find itself in. We had a major fire in an engine room."
"An absolute worst case scenario", according to Commander of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, Commodore Bob Arcalion. "You had a major main space fire on a tanker in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night with no electricity."
The Protecteur was 350 miles away from Pearl Harbor when flames engulfed an engine room the size of a school auditorium.
Cmdr. Elbourne praised his crew, saying "The team fought courageously that night to extinguish that fire and the most important thing is I left here last Thursday with 298 sailors and I came home today with 298 sailors."
It was a happy ending to an ordeal that could have been even worse. The tanker was carrying 15,500 tons of fuel.
Commodore Arcalion added, "The training and professionalism of the crew saved that ship, the shipmates, and themselves that night."
17 family members and 2 civilian contractors who were also on board hitched a ride with the USS Michael Murphy on Tuesday.
Now that the Protecteur is docked at Pearl Harbor too, Canada's Navy will determine how bad damage is and how to get her back home to Victoria.
The courageous crew was relieved to return to shore safely.
When asked what they planned to do first, they all screamed "shower."