Superyacht worth £6m sinks after being engulfed in black smoke and flames

28 May 2022, 14:03 | Updated: 29 May 2022, 08:21

By Daisy Stephens

A huge £6m superyacht has caught fire and sunk after sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky as firefighters rushed to the scene.

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Docked in Torquay marina, the 85 ft vessel is engulfed in flames, with locals reporting hearing 'explosions'.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service confirmed that part of Princess Pier was also alight, thought to be because the fire burnt through the boat's mooring ropes and set it adrift.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "We currently have fire appliances at Torquay marina fighting a fire on an 85ft private vessel.

"Please do keep away from the area.

"This has been declared a major incident. The beach has been evacuated and residents are being urged to keep doors and windows shut."

Emergency services said enquiries remain ongoing to establish the cause of the fire, which is currently being treated as unexplained.

Police confirmed the fire service had since secured the boat, but it is still ablaze.

The fire service said the vessel contained about 8,000 litres of diesel fuel.

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However DevonLive reported that the water from the hoses was not able to reach the boat.

Cat Jones, a Liberal Democrat member of Torbay Council who witnessed the blaze, tweeted: "A yacht is on fire by Torquay marina it's like a fire ball!"

Videos on social media show the inferno still tearing through the boat, with horrified crowds looking on.

Clouds of black smoke are pouring into the sky.

As of 2.15pm there were no injuries, police said.

The boat was set adrift when the fire burned through the ropes
The boat was set adrift when the fire burned through the ropes. Picture: Twitter @Grace31307003

The fire service said: "Fire control received 47 calls to reports of a boat on fire in Torquay Marina... Once on scene crews confirmed one 85 foot yacht well alight along with a portion of Torquay pier, crews were at work evacuating people from the surrounding area."

In an update at 1.05pm, the service said: "Crews are still hard at work trying to extinguish the fire using 3 Main Jets, and 2 Breathing Apparatus crews are also at work utilising the harbour masters boat to assist with firefighting efforts."

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An update at 1.49pm said: "Crews again confirm 1 85 foot yacht well alight alongside Princess Pier which is also involved in fire, all persons are accounted for and the immediate surrounding area has been evacuated, the yacht contains approximately 8000 Litres of diesel fuel, crews are currently at work using 4 Breathing Apparatus wearers, 1 Compressed Air Foam Jet, 2 45mm Jets, 2 Light Portable Pumps, water relay is currently being carried out by an open water source as well as a street hydrant being used.

"This incident is ongoing."

Black smoke is billowing into the sky
Black smoke is billowing into the sky. Picture: Twitter @Grace31307003

A police spokesperson said: "Police were called at 12.10pm today [Saturday 28 May] to Princess Pier in Torquay following reports of a fire on a yacht moored in the marina.

"The boat is believed to be well alight and had broken from the mooring. It has now been secured by the Fire service near the pier.

"There have been no reported injuries at this time.

Princess Pier, pictured here in 2010, was also partially alight, the fire service said
Princess Pier, pictured here in 2010, was also partially alight, the fire service said. Picture: Alamy

"Emergency services remain at the scene where the incident is ongoing.

"Due to levels of smoke and fumes we are asking residents in the area to keep their doors and windows shut at this time. Members of the public are also urged to avoid the area and beaches are being cleared by officers for public safety.

"A number of road closures have been put in place."

SuperYacht Times says the boat, which is not currently for sale, has a top speed of 30 knots (34mph), and a fuel capacity of 8,400 litres.

The vessel can hold eight guests in its four guest cabins, as well as three crew in two crew cabins.