Canadian submarine had a fire on board

A submarine that the Canadian Navy had just received from Britain was forced to surface off the Irish coast and send out a distress call Tuesday after a fire broke out on board.

A few of the 57 crew members aboard HMCS Chicoutimi suffered some smoke inhalation, said Canadian navy spokesman Mike Bonin. But otherwise there were no injuries.

"Everybody on board is safe," Bonin said. "There was a small fire on board. It was quickly put out. The sub has surfaced and is awaiting a tug to take it to somewhere along the European coast."

The diesel-electric-powered Chicoutimi had been headed to Halifax two days after Britain handed it over to Canada. On Saturday, it was rechristened from its British name, the HMS Upholder, a ceremony at a naval base in Faslane, Scotland.

Canada, which has been trying to build up its &to=http://' target=_blank>submarine fleet, bought the sub and three other Victoria-class submarines from Britain. But critics say the diesel-electric powered subs have a checkered history, cost too much and are not in good shape, reports ABC News.

According to the Toronto Star, the fire is the latest in a long list of problems with the pre-owned vessels, which were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and leased from Britain.

Among other things, some of the subs &to=http:// ' target=_blank>needed repairs after cracks were found in their hulls.

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