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Protecteur due in Hawaii early this week

Protecteur due in Hawaii early this weekRoyal Canadian Navy warship HMCS Protecteur sits in port at CFB Esquimalt in Esquimalt,B.C. September 1, 2013 after an exercise accident. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

ESQUIMALT, B.C. - The Canadian Navy says the disabled supply ship HMCS Protecteur is expected to be towed back to Pearl Harbour by Tuesday or Wednesday.

The 44-year-old vessel was crippled by an engine room fire Thursday night while en route from Hawaii to its home port of Esquimalt, on Vancouver Island.

The fire left the ship dead in heavy seas about 630-kilometres northeast of Hawaii with nearly 300 people onboard, including 17 family members of the crew. Twenty crewmembers suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze.

Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, the commander of the navy’s Pacific fleet, says the USS Chosin, a guided missile cruiser, delivered fresh supplies to Protecteur yesterday, and the American destroyer USS Michael Murphy helped transfer family members from Protecteur.

Auchterlonie says the stranded ship will be towed to Hawaii by the cruiser and a U.S. Navy tug.

As for conditions aboard Protecteur, Auchterlonie quotes the vessel’s commanding officer as saying the crew is “making the best of a crappy situation.”

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