June 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Giant yachts: Race to prevent oil spills after fire-ravaged ship sank | UK news

Residents and visitors were asked to avoid the area and keep doors and windows shut. Pic: Mike Trower

The race continues to prevent a massive oil spill off the coast of Devon after a large yacht caught fire and sank.

The 85-foot-tall vessel was carrying about 8,000 liters of fuel when it was engulfed in flames while docked in Torquay on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses said the fire caught through the rope that was mooring the yacht, cutting it off course and floating along the mooring before hitting a bulkhead-like bridge.

No one was hurt but the boat sank around 6pm.

The Environment Agency is now dealing with the issue and officers issued two pollution alerts for beaches closest to the marina on Saturday.

It is understood that more pollution recovery equipment will arrive today from Birmingham.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Our officers are assisting the Main Port Authority (HMA) to contain oil and fuel within the booms set up at the berth.

“The Environment Agency will provide more advice in the coming days to the HMA on waste management as part of efforts to restore the sunken yacht.”

Residents and visitors were asked to avoid the area and close doors and windows. Pic: Mike Troyer

Musician David Palmer, 58, who lives in Torquay, told the Palestinian News Agency: “They are worried about fuel getting into the water and port, which is definitely the last thing you want.

“There were crowds of people around the place. The flames were burning and there was a huge cloud of black smoke.

“It was an amazing sight, it was just an incredible sight.”

Firefighters struggled to put out the flames that broke out on the 85-foot-high ship.  Pic: Tanya Kotham
The ship caught fire while mooring in Torquay. Pic: Tanya Kotham

Devon and Cornwall Police said the cause of the fire was being treated as unexplained and investigations were continuing.

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Torquay Marina said in a statement: “Thanks to a fantastic team effort by the emergency services, port authorities, our staff and our customers, we were able to contain the emergency and avert a major disaster.

“We now have several barriers around the area to protect the environment. Please continue to be patient during the cleaning process.”