Canadians arrive in Hawaii after being stranded

By Cam Tran
Published On: Mar 04 2014 05:32:00 PM HST

Seventeen Canadians are thankful to be on Hawaii soil being stranded at sea for nearly a week.

HONOLULU -

Seventeen Canadians are thankful to be on Hawaiian soil after being stranded at sea for nearly a week.

Click here to watch Cam Tran's story.

After seven days at sea, the crew of the USS Michael Murphy brought 17 thankful Canadians to dry land Tuesday morning.

The adventure started Feb. 25 when the Canadian naval oil replenishment ship called the HMCS Protecteur left Pearl Harbor headed to British Columbia.

The ship was 350 miles off the Hawaii coast when a fire ignited in the engine room.

"It was somewhat surreal because unfortunately you don't know if it is a drill or if it's for real," said passenger Wade Kaehler, "We realized quite quickly it was for real and we gathered everyone in the dispersal area."

"I don't know enough about the navy to be scared. I probably should have been scared. I wasn't," said passenger Arlene Deenhoff.

It took the Protecteur crew members several hours to put out the flames.

"This is an equivalent of a three-story house full of narrow passageways and full of electrical equipment and small machinery wiring everywhere, and this place was in total flames," said Ret. Vice Adm. Larry Murray.

Twenty Canadian crew members were hurt in the fire but were treated aboard the ship for minor injuries. The fire disabled the ship.

"The U.S. Navy provided immediate relief. The USS Michael Murphy was the first ship on station. They provided the immediate support to the ship," said Cmdr. A.R. Harrigan, of the Royal Canadian Navy.

That support included getting 17 civilians off the Canadian ship.

"I saw sailors rushing to do exactly what they should be doing," Murray said. "I spent 33 years with the navy and i retired (as a) vice admiral. I've never seen a more professional, courageous team."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The HMCS Protecteur remains about 200 off shore of Hawaii.

A U.S. naval tugboat is towing the disabled ship to Pearl Harbor and is expected to arrive Thursday.

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