Around noon on May 28, a 26-meter motor yacht, reportedly Princess’s M/Y Rendezvous, was destroyed in a fire at Torquay Marina in Devon, England. The marina confirmed there were no casualties or damage to any other vessels.
Multiple fire crews were sent to tackle the fire. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said there was approximately 8,000 liters of fuel on board.
After the fire burned through the lines, the vessel drifted from her mooring and rested on nearby Princess Pier, which sustained some damage, but police secured the yacht again. It was declared a major incident, and officials began to evacuate the immediate surrounding area and at 3 p.m. urged residents to keep their doors and windows closed because of the smoke.
The flames were extinguished by 6 p.m. but the yacht was destroyed and eventually sank. Then the focus shifted to cleanup operations to remove spilt diesel from the marina waters and the remains of the vessel.
The Environment Agency South West shared on Twitter, “we are hopeful most pollution has been contained. We won’t know for certain until the submerged fuel tanks are inspected by divers during the salvage operation.” There were no reports of any impact on wildlife and booms deployed by the harbor master contained the leakage.
On May 30, Torbay Council estimated that specialist teams had already removed three tonnes of diesel from the water with efforts to continue. As of June 1, the nearby Princess Pier remains closed to allow the teams to safely dispose of the remaining fuel and assess the damage to the pier. It will re-open once the salvage operation is completed.
In its June 1 news release, Torbay Council shares, “All major debris and a significant amount of fuel has been removed from the vessel. The booms that surround the vessel will remain in place until the salvage operation is completed.” They are working with insurers on a salvage action plan, and there is no confirmed date for the salvage of the yacht yet.
Fire services say the cause of the fire remains unknown, but a police investigation is underway.