(Via Ho’okele News)
The Military Sealift Command fleet ocean tug USNS Sioux (T-ATF 171) tows the Royal Canadian Navy auxiliary oil replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509) to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Protecteur experienced an engine fire en route to Canada and returned to Pearl Harbor with the assistance of U.S. Navy ships. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Daniel Barker
Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity, Hawaii U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Protecteur, guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and fleet ocean tug USNS Sioux (TATF-175) arrived here safely March 6, following recovery efforts led by the U.S. Navy after a fire aboard the Canadian ship last week.
Chosin, guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) and Sioux provided assistance to Protecteur and ensured its safe return to port.
Michael Murphy was first to arrive on scene immediately after the fire occurred early in the morning Feb. 28. Shortly after, Chosin arrived on scene and commenced towing operations while transporting food and water to Protecteur via embarked helicopter from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 37).
“This recent event is proof enough of the need to maintain consistent and continuous readiness,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly, Chosin’s commanding officer. “With but a few hours’ notice, Chosin, along with Michael Murphy, Sioux and HSM-37, were able to respond to a call to action. We are honored to have been called and proud of the support we were able to provide our fellow mariners.”
Sioux took over towing operations March 2 and towed Protecteur for the remaining four days into port. Michael Murphy returned to port March 4 with 19 family members and civilian contractors from Protecteur, as well as a Canadian sailor with a hand injury.
“The incredible courage of the crew of Protecteur and the resiliency of their families during this tumultuous time is truly inspiring,” said Rear Adm. Bill Truelove, commander Maritime Forces Pacific, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).
“The RCN is appreciative of the tremendous support that has been provided by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and all those involved in helping get Protecteur and her crew safely back to Pearl Harbor.”
Protecteur was operating within U.S. 3rd Fleet’s area of responsibility, serving as the oil replenishment ship, assisting other ships operating within the area for the month of February. The fire occurred during the ship’s transit back to Esquimalt, British Columbia.
The ship will remain in Hawaii for an undetermined amount of time while the RCN conducts an initial damage assessment.