A disabled Canadian refueling ship with nearly 300 sailors aboard pulled into Pearl Harbor under tow after an engine fire.
U.S. Navy tug boats guided the HMCS Protecteur, flying the American flag, to a pier Thursday morning after making a slow journey from Pacific Ocean waters north of Hawaii. This ship full of Canadians could not be happier to say Aloha to Hawaii and step on soil.
"It's the best feeling I've had in about seven days," said Chantal Desormeaux, and engineering officer.
The HMCS Protecteur left Pearl Harbor on February 25 on its way back to British Columbia, Canada after a deployment. But just two days into its voyage, the engine room caught fire.
"An absolute worse case scenario. 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," said Commander Bob Auchterionie. "You're having a large fire in a very large space -- the size of basically a school gymnasium that's three to four stories high."
After the fire on the HMCS Protecteur, the ship basically lost all its power meaning no hot showers, no working kitchen and no bathrooms.
"We had to make some makeshift toilets and use those. At one point we had one toilet for 270 people, so we needed to shower," said Desormeaux.
Royal Canadian Navy officials say their ship got help from three U.S. Navy ships, leaving 20 sailors with minor injuries.
"I've never been so grateful in my life. Having them drop off water and supplies, I even have one of the sailors water bottles," said Hull Tech Seaman Curtis Korolyk. "Their personal bottles were sent over and I've been using that for the last three days -- drinking water out of a jerry can. They gave us their own personal stuff to keep going."
Most of the crew members are ready for some R&R after their ordeal.
"I'm happy to be back on land and I'll just work on my tan a little before I head home," said HMCS Protecteur Firefigther Geoff Harshaw.
Cmdr. Al Harrigan of Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters says getting the ship back to a dock was the first step in investigating the fire and eventually getting the vessel back to Canada.
Harrigan says the 44-year-old Protecteur was on its way home from a three- to four-week deployment.