The Marine Accident Investigation Branch issues a safety warning after a boat burst into flames and sank off Lowestoft.

An uninsulated hot exhaust pipe is believed to be the cause for a 14m wind farm support catamaran erupting in flames and sinking, says a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

As a result of the fire, the MAIB is urging all owners and operators to check all exhaust pipes on their vessels are fully insulated and don’t come into close contact with combustible materials.

ECC Topaz and its three crew had been 11nm east of Lowestoft when the boat caught fire earlier this year on 14 January.

The crew attempted to extinguish the fire but they were forced to abandon the boat and escape in a liferaft as the flames tore through the vessel’s structure.

The raging fire continued for almost two hours before the boat sank in 33m of water.

A coastguard helicopter rescued the three crew after receiving a Mayday call from the boat’s skipper.

The MAIB’s report found compelling evidence to suggest the source of the fire was due to an uninsulated section of the exhaust pipe from a diesel-fired air heater.

The MAIB report said: “The most likely cause of the fire on board ECC Topaz was the poorly insulated hot exhaust pipe igniting the plywood structure of the vessel.”

“The compartment where the heater was situated was not fitted with any fire detection or extinguishing systems, and contained several flammable items including sacks of rags, rolls of paper towels and several small drums of oil that would have provided additional fuel for the fire once it was ignited.”

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Police are still searching for a luxury yacht after it was hijacked by pirates in the Mediterranean last month.

Authorities continue to search for a luxury yacht Armageddon after it was hijacked by pirates last month in the Mediterranean.

Three crew were onboard the 55ft yacht when it was boarded by four armed and masked men, according to reports by Europe Radio 1.

After being held captive for around three hours in a cabin, the owner and crew were set adrift in the yacht’s life raft and eventually washed ashore on the north coast of Corsica.

No one was harmed during the incident but the location of the vessel is still unknown.

The yacht had been sailing near îlots des Moines, north of Bonifacio, when it was taken over by the pirates.

Sailors are being asked to keep an eye out for the vessel, which is highly noticeable due to its modern shape and red main sail.

Anyone with information regarding the yacht and its whereabouts are being asked to email francois.tregouet@glyachting.com or call +33 (0)231690392.

See article at Yachting & Boating World – click here

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Cowes to become a ‘true sheltered harbour’ once £7 million breakwater is built. Construction of the new Cowes breakwater is to start at Easter, Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced.

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has appointed construction firm Boskalis Westminster to build the new £7 million detached breakwater. The construction of the new breakwater will be carried out in two phases. The initial construction phase will continue through the summer of 2014 and will then be followed by a consolidation period to allow for settlement of the breakwater structure during the autumn through to spring 2015. The contractor will then return to Cowes to re-dress the core structure and complete the construction of the breakwater during the summer of 2015.

The construction of the 350 metre long breakwater is the first phase of transforming Cowes into a “true sheltered harbour”. The project is a joint initiative between CHC and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with both parties funding the work, with co-operation from the Crown Estate.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: “The signing of the breakwater construction contract is a significant milestone.” The breakwater is the first and most important component of the new harbour protection and infrastructure to be delivered as part of this partnership project. CHC will continue to work with the HCA to deliver the harbour authority’s priority of completing the sea defences by the delivery of the second phase: the extension to the Shrape breakwater and the dredging of the new Eastern Channel, which will be brought forward as part of the HCA’s proposed new marina at East Cowes.

Cowes Harbour Commission will issue regular navigational information and news updates for stakeholders and harbour users during the construction process.

More information on the Cowes breakwater project can be found on the CHC website: www.cowesharbourcommission.co.uk.

Read article at Practical Boat Owner – click here

 

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Categories: marine environment

Flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to keep rising for the next 24 hours.

Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a “horror movie”.

Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.

PM David Cameron, who is touring flood-hit south-west England, said it was not the time to change personnel amid criticism of the Environment Agency.

Chancellor George Osborne, meanwhile, said people understood “that the rain is not the fault of any one person”.

 

 

Rescue operation

Homes, shops and businesses in the Berkshire village of Datchet are underwater and hundreds more along the lower River Thames, as far as Shepperton, are under threat, the Environment Agency says.

Several Thames gauges are showing their highest levels since being installed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Fire crews, who have been rescuing people from their homes in Staines-upon-Thames, say they have never known waters so deep or a flood rescue operation on this scale.

On Monday night, Surrey Police said more than 150 people had been rescued from flooded homes in the previous 24 hours.

Near Windsor, Councillor Colin Rayner pleaded for help from the police and Army.

“We’ve got 50 volunteers here, we’ve got the vulnerable people out of their homes, now we need to get everyone else out,” he said “Nearby, in the Berkshire village of Colnbrook, resident Asif Khan said his whole street was under water, his house was flooded and his fridge “just went bang”.

“It’s something out of a horror movie,” he said, adding that he was now about to try to evacuate with his two small children.

Hurst village resident Paul Palmer said sewers there were blocked and they have been unable to use the toilet since Friday.

“It’s starting to back up into the toilet – it’s like going back to the dark ages,” he told the BBC.

Major incident

Thames Valley Police have declared a “major incident” in east Berkshire.

A major incident has also been declared in Surrey by the county’s police force.

Howard Davidson, from the Environment Agency, said he expected conditions in the county to deteriorate as more rain fell over the coming days.

“We have issued flood warnings from Datchet down to Shepperton, and we urge people to take heed of the flood warnings. We are anticipating another three or four inches on the Thames over the next 24 hours.”

The Environment Agency said it had never issued as many severe flood warnings and that many areas had seen more than double their average rainfall.

A two-hour meeting of the emergency Cobra committee has taken place.

The prime minister took part by phone from south-west England, where he will spend the night.

Speaking afterwards, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said sites likely to have problems in coming days were being identified and prioritised.

“Everything possible” was being done to protect homes and communities, and special attention was being paid to water and electrical plants, he added.

The control of sandbags and ordering of temporary flood defences would be centralised by government, he said, and “full military support” remained on standby across the south.

Railway lines have also been badly affected with passengers facing severe delays. The latest developments include:

  • Trains between Staines and Windsor and Eton have been cancelled until at least Thursday
  • First Great Western says mainline services from London Paddington had resumed but a reduced timetable was running between Paddington and Reading
  • The main route into and out of Devon and Cornwall, via Bridgwater, has been cut off by floods and storm damage
  • First Great Western has lifted ticket restrictions on all journeys

 

Among other developments:

  • The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe warnings – meaning “danger to life” – along the River Thames, in areas including Staines, Chertsey and Datchet
  • Two severe warnings are in place for the South West of England in Salt Moor and East Lyng, in Somerset
  • Large parts of Worcester city centre could be closed for a week because of flooding, the county council has said.
  • An earth bank has been built to protect the town of Bridgwater, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, from flooding
  • The family of Gareth Lockyer, the missing a kayaker whose body was found in the River Usk in Powys, say he was a “kind, caring and gentle” person
  • Essex County Council says it is releasing £1m of emergency funds to tackle road flooding across the county

 

Saturated land

Network Rail says it is concerned about 400 to 500 railway sites. Normally, at this time of year, it would be about a dozen.

It is also warning that problems on the rail network could last for some months.

More than 300 less serious warnings and alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency, mostly in southern England and the Midlands.

BBC Weather forecaster Steve Cleaton said rain and strong winds were expected to hit areas already affected by flooding on Tuesday.

It is expected to start raining on the Somerset Levels at between 2am and 3am, with 10-20mm falling widely and as much as 30mm in some areas.

The band of rain is due to approach the Severn basin by dawn on Tuesday and the Thames areas around the time of the morning rush hour.

Wednesday will bring wintery showers, gale force winds and heavy rain in parts of south and west England, Mr Cleaton said, with gusts of over 70mph expected in Devon and Cornwall.

Read full article at BBC News – click here

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Yachting & Boating World: A man was rescued yesterday after a fire broke out in the early hours on board a wind farm support vessel

 

A crewman had to be rescued after a fire broke out on board a wind farm support vessel off the coast of Yarmouth yesterday morning.

The boat, Norfolk Tern, made contact with the Humber Coastguard shortly after 8am to notify them that a fire had stared in the vessel’s starboard engine room.

One of the six crewmembers suffered smoke inhalation as a result of the fire and was taken to hospital by the RAF Wattisham search and rescue helicopter.

The remaining crew were able to get the blaze under control and return the boat to shore.

A number of emergency services were waiting at South Quay for the arrival of the boat, including police, fire fighters, paramedics, coastguards and lifeboat crews.

Humber Coastguard watch manager Bev Allen, told EDP24: “All six on board this vessel managed to quickly bring the fire under control, but one member of the crew was in need of medical attention after showing signs of breathing in too much smoke.

“The standby vessel Vos Discovery also provided excellent support in transferring oxygen for the injured person.”

Read article at Yachting & Boating World – click here

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The diamond anniversary London Boat Show 2014 attracted a total of 88,593 visitors across the nine days – 4,734 down on the 2013 event’s footfall – but
30 exhibitors have already signed up for the 2015 event

The show, which ended yesterday, attracted more than 400 exhibitors to the ExCeL exhibition centre and docklands to display their products, with nine world debuts and 19 European and UK launches, culminating in a total of 76 launches at the show in total.

A spokesman for the British Marine Federation said the London Boat Show ‘presented the best of the marine industry and good quality business was conducted at a time when the £2.905bn industry is demonstrating optimism and confidence for the months ahead.’

Sales from this year’s show confirm the British Marine Federation latest research, which suggests industry growth is returning to pre-recession levels, with some exhibitors experiencing record-breaking sales figures.

Visitors enjoyed the show’s Adventurous Cruising Zone, where industry experts shared their knowledge on topics from navigation to boat handling, and the Watersports Pool saw people queuing to try free taster sessions in canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and water walkers.

Big names to attend this year’s event included HRH The Princess Royal, actor and comedian James Corden, broadcaster Suzi Perry, Sir Ben Ainslie, TV presenters Lorraine Kelly, Nick Knowles, Sarah Beeny, Dominic Littlewood and John Sargeant plus Olympians Etienne Stott, Shirley Robertson, Bryony Shaw, Paul Goodison, Stevie Morrison and Pippa Wilson visited, many of whom attended the show’s official charity’s stand, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

‘Positive feedback’

Murray Ellis, managing director of National Boat Shows, said: ‘We are pleased with the success of the 2014 London Boat Show and have celebrated its 60th anniversary with some of the best brands in the marine industry.

‘Thousands of boats, brands, technology, training and free interactive attractions have filled the nine days which has led to the positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors.

‘We are delighted with the high quality of visitors who came to this year’s show and the number of exhibitors who have signed up to exhibit in 2015.’

Exhibitors, to date, signing up tothe 2015 show include: Pearl Motor Yachts, Navionics, Cobra Ribs, Offaxis, Sleipner Motor, Learn 2 Sail, Cruising Association, Cornish Crabbers, Mersea Trailers, Sail Ionian, Hobo Yachting, GN Espace, Fairline, Princess, Volvo, Rolly Tasker Sails, IPC, Furuno, EP Barrus, Gibbs Boat Sales, Sealine, Rockley Watersports, Topper International, Nisos Yacht Charter, Cambrian Boat Centre, Aura Yachting, Pure Latitude, R&D Marine, The Boat Crew and Flexisail.

Oliver Winbolt, head of marketing at Fairline Boats, said: ‘Fairline has enjoyed another very successful London Boat show.

‘Our new layout has made it easier for our clients to view our boats, while attractions such as the Concept Cinema have been busy throughout the show.

‘Sales have been excellent with the final total due to exceed 2013, further extending our forward order book into late 2014 in some cases.

‘In addition, we anticipate a significant number of retail sales during the coming weeks as a direct result of customers who have been introduced to the brand at this event.

‘There is no better way to start the boating season than by taking advantage of this ideal sales opportunity in January.’

A-Glaze chairman Michael Bollom said: ‘The London Boat Show has been absolutely superb; our sales are 58 per cent up.

‘The people who have made the effort to come here are the people who have come here to buy. We have seen a lot of people and picked up two new distributors. We will definitely be back, we have already signed up.

‘This show is important, it is always a good Show for us. We would be very disappointed if it didn’t continue.’

Rallying together

With much of the country experiencing unprecedented levels of flooding, exhibitors at the London Boat Show joined forces to come to the rescue of Muchelney, on the Somerset Levels, which is severely flooded to the extent that the entire village is now totally cut off from the surrounding areas.

The boat, engine, lifejackets, safety and radio equipment, insurance and transport of the boat to Somerset were all provided through the goodwill of London Boat Show and British marine companies including ADPR, ASAP, BHG Marine, Coleman, Event Broadcast, Garmin, ICOM, IPC, Marine Resources, Ocean Safety, PSP, Rigiflex and Torqeedo.

The 2014 PSP Southampton Boat Show will take place from 12-21 September www.southamptonboatshow.com, while next year’s London Boat Show runs from 10-18 January 2015 at ExCeL London.

Read more here at Practical Boat Owner – click here

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Categories: London Boat Show

Early attendance is down on 2013 figures but advance ticket sales are up… Today’s official press day saw dozens of world, European and UK boat and product launches at the London Boat Show 2014.

TV presenter Suzi Perry unveiled a hot pink Turbojet 325 from Williams Performance Tenders, which is being auctioned for charity in aid of Breast Cancer Care.

Suzi said: ‘Today’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, this should brighten things up a bit.’

The highest bid currently stands at just under £6,000 but organisers hope to raise £25,000 for the charity. Click here to find the auction on eBay.

 

 

Spymaster launched its Underwater Drop Camera, which can provide video and illumination at a depth range of up to 60m, with images depicted on a portable high resolution video monitor. Musto showcased its photoluminescent technology, which now features on three more of its collections following positive feedback from Volvo Ocean Race sailors.

The company also launched its new ultra-lightweight and waterproof ‘Dynamic’ range, with ‘vari-stretch’ panelling that will be on sale from April and includes a smock, jacket and salopette.

Musto also launched the Dynamic Pro Shoe, developed in partnership with Clarks shoe specialists, which features a rubber sole for maximum grip, a water-draining system and light, breathable fabric, saltwater resistant eyelets and anti-odour treated mesh.

Boatability

The Rivertime Boat Trust in Berkshire announced ‘Boatability’, a new joint venture with Bisham Abbey Sailing and Navigation School to enable disabled people the opportunity to participate in physical activity on the water.

British luxury motorboat manufacturers Fairline launched the Targa 48 Gran Turismo and reported that sales were on the up.

CEO Kevin Gaskell also revealed details of the Fairline Esprit, which he described as a ‘glimpse of the future of sustainable leisure boating’, with emphasis on re-using and recycling materials and reducing weight to lower the carbon footprint and enhance engine capability.

Garmin showcased a wealth of new products to the public for the first time, including the GPSMAP 800 and 1000 combination chartplotter and fishfinder units, with 8- and 10-inch displays respectively.

The Garmin Helm free mobile app and new scanning sonar were among the company’s latest launches, along with a software update for the GPSMAP and echoMAP series of combination chartplotter and fishfinder units, which can now share supplemental maps and user data such as waypoints, routes, and tracks.

Cruising inspiration

Over at the Adventure Cruising area, Jeremy Wyatt of the World Cruising Club provided practical advice to visitors considering taking part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).

Top tips included buying a comfort fit lifejacket – ‘If it’s comfortable, you’ll wear it’, being aware of the responsibility issues of taking crew, how to find quality crew members on the World Cruising Club website and guidance to ‘definitely sail with them beforehand, either on delivery or on a night sail – you want to trust them to wake you up’ and to consider personalities – ‘it’s important you like them.’

Long-standing Old Gaffers Association (OGA) member Tom Cunliffe gave a talk on the history of the association and presented yachtswoman Barbara Runnalls with the OGA Gaffers Globe Trophy 2014.

Grandmother-of-two Barbara, from Lancing, near Worthing completed a three-month circumnavigation of Britain single-handed on a her gaff cutter Moon River last summer.

As part of the OGA’s Round Britain Challenge, Sussex Yacht Club member Barbara set out in May from Shoreham and sailed to the West Country, round Land’s End, to Wales, Ireland and then Scotland. Barbara even managed to have a minor knee operation without missing out on any sailing days.

She said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed it, I made the most wonderful friends and enjoyed the sailing, it was a lovely sense of achievement. We had a wonderful welcome wherever we went.’

Attendance figures

This year’s London Boat Show, which marks the event’s 60th year, will run until Sunday, 12 January at the ExCeL centre.

Visitor numbers to the first two days of the show are down on 2013 figures but advance ticket sales are strong and look likely to top last year’s overall turnout by the end of the week.

A show spokesman said: ‘Yesterday’s attendance was 8,840. This was 9% down on last year’s number. This puts the attendance after two days at 19,272, 8% behind the figure of last year’s 20,994.

‘Advance tickets continue to sell well and are 4% ahead of last year.’

Find out more at www.londonboatshow.com

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Categories: London Boat Show

Be alert – more storms coming…..As high tides and strong winds batter Britain, the coastguard and police are warning people to stay safely on shore and not venture out to sea.

Following two serious incidents over recent days in which people have entered the sea in rough conditions, and with 16 severe flood warnings in force in south-west England, Gloucestershire and Wales, Devon and Cornwall, police and the coastguard are appealing to residents to take care in the stormy weather.

A police spokesperson said: “There are people who enjoy swimming in all weathers as well as those who may underestimate the danger a rough sea can pose. During the current bad weather, we would like to appeal to people not to put themselves, and emergency personnel who might have to turn out to rescue them, in unnecessary danger.”

The River Severn has burst its banks and waves of over 30ft are expected to hit parts of Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly later today, with serious flooding in many areas already reported.

However, Tom Mansell, RNLI divisional operations manager and flood rescue team leader, told the BBC that the situation so far had been “better than expected” and as long as people take caution the flood defences in place should be able to cope.

“This is coastal flooding that we are expecting,” he said. “Such areas are reasonably used to this but the danger is really where people are going down to have a look. They don’t understand how dangerous the sea can be.”

Read more at Motor Boats Monthly – click here

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Categories: Boat insurance

Yachting & Boating World: An Australian gang member from th Brothers 4 Life was shot onboard a luxury yacht late on New Year’s Day after gunfire broke out near Sydney.

The 31-year-old was found at Bondi Beach with a gunshot wound to his shoulder at around 11.30pm on Wednesday but is refusing to cooperate with police investigating the incident.

A report by ABC News states that the 32m luxury yacht Oscar II was sprayed with bullets as it arrived at Rose Bay in east Sydney.

The gang member, who cannot be identified due to a court order, was taken to hospital but discharged himself soon after.

Local police said at least 10 shots were fired at the luxury yacht and bullet holes could be seen in a number of windows on the boat’s port side.

The cruiser, which can be hired for more than $2,000 an hour, has been seized and taken for further analysis.

See article at Yachting & Boating World

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Categories: Police case

Practical Boat Owner: Four men were rescued from a 30ft sailing yacht when they got into difficulties in high winds and a heavy sea near Southend Pier. The crew of the 30ft cruiser were suffering from cold and sea sickness.

Sheerness all weather lifeboat ‘George and Ivy Swanson’ launched at 1.57pm yesterday following a report that the yacht ‘Mirrorcles II’ was unable to make way and its crew were experiencing cold and sea sickness.

Under the command of coxswain Robin Castle, the lifeboat located the casualty with four men on board, approximately half a mile south of Southend Pier, Thames Estuary.

Southend ‘Atlantic’ lifeboat was already on scene and had transferred one crewmember to the craft.

A Sheerness volunteer was also transferred on board and a tow was established for the journey across the Thames Estuary in force seven South Westerly winds and a heavy sea to Queenborough harbour.

After securing the craft on a mooring at Queenborough the four casualties were taken back to Sheerness lifeboat station for warmth and hot refreshments before being picked up by relatives.

Read article at Practical Boat Owner – click here

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Categories: Rescue at sea

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