Smoke could be seen coming from a boat in a Portsmouth boatyard following an explosion and fire on board. Emergency crews were called to the Portsmouth Marine Engineering private boatyard when a blaze broke out on Sunday afternoon.

Three people were on board when there was an explosion in the cabin.
As a result, two of the people were treated for smoke inhalation, while the other suffered a head injury.

The explosion took place at around 1pm on Sunday and the fire crews spent 20 minutes putting out the fire.

An investigation into the incident is now taking place, however it is thought it may have been caused by a gas leak.

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Weather warnings as an Atlantic storm brings a North Sea storm surge to parts of the UK – Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes last night as a tidal surge struck the east coast of England.

The North Sea surge, predicted to be the worst in 60 years, was caused by an Atlantic storm that brought very strong winds to northern parts of the UK yesterday with widespread gusts of 60-80mph.

The Met Office continues to issue ‘national severe’ weather warnings. This morning’s shipping forecast warns of northwesterly severe gale force 9 winds rising to violent storm 11, plus a very high, rough sea state.

The Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Natural Resources Wales have also issued numerous severe flood warnings for the coastline that stretches from North Lincolnshire to Kent.

Flood waters have receding in many areas but there are expected to be further high tides later today.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat station in Wells was flooded during yesterday’s storm surge. It was one of nine RNLI lifeboat stations flooded or damaged by the weather.

What is a storm surge?

This is a very localised rising of sea level – independent of tides – related to the track of a storm and its accompanying winds.

The storm causes this surge of water in two ways. Firstly strong winds, often blowing parallel to the coast or onshore, push water roughly in their direction which causes water to ‘pile up’ on nearby coasts.

The second element, which is less important for the UK, relates to differences in air pressure. Low pressure, associated with storms, exerts less of a force on the sea surface – allowing the sea surface to temporarily rise in the vicinity of low pressure.

Local geography also plays a role. North Sea areas are particularly prone to storm surges because water flowing into the shallower southern end cannot escape quickly through the narrow Dover Strait and the English Channel. The shallow depths in the southern North Sea also aid the development of a large surge.
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The new tax regime is expected to become law within a few weeks – Cruising sailors in Greece will be hit with a new tax of up to 400 euros a year.

The imminent tax will affect everyone sailing in Greek waters and is all but imposed following a vote in the Greek Parliament on 21 November 2013.

The Cruising Association (CA) has announced that the law has been voted on and accepted and looks set to be implemented as soon as it is published in a government gazette.

The new tax means all boats over 7m used for leisure activities in Greece will have to pay up. This includes commercial and charter boats, and day excursion boats licensed to carry fewer than 49 passengers, including those plying trade to other countries.

Boat owners with craft more than 7m and less than 12m long will have to pay between 200 and 400 euros a year to sail in Greek waters. But boats over 12m face a tax of 100 euros per metre per year, with a discount scheme available if boat owners pay for one month at a time while afloat in Greek waters at 10 euros per metre per month, or 30% off if they pay for a full year in advance. This is still to be clarified and confirmed.

Boats visiting Greece en route to Turkey, Croatia or Italy will be the hardest hit. Although in the minority of those affected by the new tax, the Greek authorities realise some cruising boat owners may consider leaving or avoiding Greece. The most vulnerable group are liveaboards with boats over 12m, who keep their boats on the water all year and are on a tight budget. No tax is payable if the boat is ashore for a full year.

The CA, based in London’s Docklands, has been monitoring the situation in Greece as it has almost 1,500 members sailing throughout the islands.

CA member Jim Baerselman, who has sailed in Greek waters for more than 30 years, said this significant tax could put many people off cruising in Greece.

It is understood that the tax is payable on entry to Greek waters and is valid only for that calendar year, which would mean anyone wintering in Greece would have to pay two years’ tax. But boats over 12m only need to pay monthly.

Implementation of the tax could possibly still be postponed or halted, but Mr Baerselman feels it is unlikely to be changed substantially.

The new tax regime will not become law officially until it is published, but this is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

Read more at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

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GREAT Britain crossed the finish line into Albany, Western Australia at 13:32:48 local time (UTC+8), just 27 minutes ahead of Henri Lloyd, to clinch its second consecutive win, following a dramatic and close fought 5000 mile race in a challenging leg through the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa in the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race.

GREAT Britain Skipper Simon Talbot celebrated the win with his crew and will also be awarded the Kinjarling Cup by the City of Albany. He said: “That was so emotional I had tears in my eyes as we crossed the finish line. We are absolutely delighted as it was such a tough race and we really didn’t expect to win.

“We had our fair share of dramas, particularly when we were knocked down by a big wave and crew morale took a hit, but we picked up the pace again. The crew is a winning crew and really knows how to perform. In the last 48 hours there has been just three miles between us and Henri Lloyd, and after a squall we did a double manoeuvre and overtook, and managed to stay ahead until the finish.”

The close finish followed a particularly brutal and dramatic Southern Ocean crossing. Early on in the race, two boats had to divert and medevac off injured crew after exceptionally strong wind speeds when gusts in excess of 90 miles per hour lashed the fleet, providing dramatic surfs and towering waves as it headed south through the Indian Ocean’s Agulhas Current into the Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean. Every two to three days, the yachts were hit by new low pressure systems which made for an epic and particularly challenging Leg.

Henri Lloyd Skipper Eric Holden, who is defending his team’s position at the top of the overall leader board kept up the pressure to the very end, finishing at 13.59 local time. He commented: “It’s been a very challenging but rewarding race. Everyone feels like they have achieved a real accomplishment.

“It was a close battle with GREAT Britain, and when a squall hit and they gybed away, our kite got doused which slowed us down and they got away and we couldn’t catch them. To win, you risk equipment damage and we have none so are really happy.”

The third podium place goes to OneDLL, currently expected to cross the finish line around 1830 local, with Qingdao anticipated in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time.

The remainder of the fleet will arrive in Albany Waterfront Marina over the next three days.

Race 5 to Sydney will start on Tuesday, 3 December.

The fleet’s progress can be tracked through the Clipper Race Viewer at
www.clipperroundtheworld.com/raceviewer

Expected arrival times for the fleet are currently as follows:

Team ETA Albany Waterfront Marina (Local time – UTC+8)
OneDLL 3 Mon 25 Nov – 1800 to 1900
Qingdao 4 Mon 25 Nov – 2300 to 0300
Invest Africa 5 Tues 26 Nov – Late morning
PSP Logistics 6 Tues 26 Nov – Afternoon
Switzerland 7 Tues 26 Nov – Evening
Jamaica Get All Right 8 Weds 27 Nov
Mission Performance 9 Weds 27 Nov
Old Pulteney 10 Weds 27 Nov
Derry~Londonderry~Doire 11 Weds 27 Nov
Team Garmin 12 Thurs 28 Nov
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Tensions between Spain and Britain over territorial waters surrounding Gibraltar came to a head this week when a Spanish ship sailed too close to Gibraltar Harbour for some Diplomatic tensions between Spain and Britain continue to mount as the UK Foreign Office raises “serious concerns” with the Spanish Ambassador about the actions of a Spanish ship off the coast of Gibraltar.

On 19 November the Acting Permanent Under Secretary Matthew Rycroft summoned the Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo to a meeting regarding what he described as a “significant incursion” into British territorial waters by Spanish ship RV Romon,which came within 250 metres of Gibraltar Harbour and perilously close to boats at anchor on 18 and 19 November.

During the meeting, Rycroft also highlighted the “unacceptable border delays” which continue to affect Gibraltarians and visitors.

A statement from the Foreign Office said: “The European Commission has given Spain clear recommendations which, if implemented, would improve the functioning of the border. The UK expects the Spanish government to act on these recommendations without delay.”

Read more at Motor Boats Monthly – click here

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The owner of a RHIB that smashed into a yacht rendering it useless has been fined £1,500 in court. The 28ft yacht ‘Charlotte-Anne’ was moored at Killyleagh, in Northern Ireland, when the RHIB ‘Red Rubber’ crashed into its side.

Portaferry RNLI attended the incident, which occurred around 2am on 13 July, 2012.

Ralph Carson, 56, from Killyleagh, who owned the RHIB, was sentenced at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He had pleaded guilty to three charges: failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that it was operated in a safe manner, failing to navigate it safely, and failing to keep a lookout.

Carson was fined £500 for each of the three charges.

Carson, who was navigating at the time of the incident, was also ordered to pay an offender’s charge of £15.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) assisted police in bringing about the prosecution.

Bill Bennett, area operations manager for Northern Ireland for the MCA, said: ‘It is very important that all vessels navigate safely, have a proper passage planned and maintain a good lookout at all times. Failure to do so could result in catastrophic consequences.’

Read more at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

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Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean a detained boat – Cruising sailors in Greece are facing increased costs next year as the Government plans to impose a tax on all leisure and commercial tourist craft.

If the law is imposed, the tax will be introduced on 1 January 2014, as a circulation tax and will mean yachts and motorboats between 7m and 12m will have to pay up to €400 each year.

Vessels of more than 12m will be charged €100 per metre every year with concessions for permanently based yachts of 30% or a choice to pay €10 per metre per month.

The Cruising Association, based in Limehouse in London’s Docklands, has been monitoring the situation in Greece as it has almost 1,500 members sailing throughout the islands.

CA member, Jim Baerselman, who has sailed in Greek waters for more than 30 years, said this was a significant tax which could put many people off cruising in Greece.

He has been in contact with a Greek tax accountant, who said: ‘The tax will be charged for all recreational and commercial ships and small boats, regardless of their flag, which sail, are moored or anchored in Greek waters.’

 

Keep proof of payment

Mr Baerselman added that the Minister of Marine and Aegean had said yachts or motorboats sailing in Greek waters needed to keep proof of payment with their registration document which is issued when entering Greece.

Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean the boat would be detained by the Port, Tax and Customs Authority and a fine of 100% of the tax due to be paid imposed.

Mr Baerselman said the proposed law also stated any boat cruising out of Greek waters after paying the annual tax would not be liable for a refund but the payment would remain valid for the current year.

Why the tax?

The aims of the tax are to ‘strengthen public revenue’ and to ‘correspond to the type and charges made by neighbouring countries, but not to act as a disincentive to tourists.’

The proposed tax is part of an omnibus bill sweeping up a range of detailed legislation and is an addition to a general maritime bill passed in the Greek parliament last month which omitted reference to leisure craft pending consultations.

A final decision on the proposed tax is due to be made in the Greek parliament by the end of November.

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The remains of luxury motor yacht that caught fire on bonfire night and sank in an Isle of Wight Marina have been raised.

The 23-metre long (75.46ft) cruisier Kahu, estimated to be worth $5.6million by Ancasta International Boat Sales which was selling it, became engulfed by flames while moored at East Cowes Marina on 5 November 2013.

 

There were no casualties at all and nobody was onboard the Kahu at the time of the fire.

The submerged vessel has now been raised off the seabed, with air lift bags utilised to bring it up to just below the water surface from the river bed.

This morning a crane lifted the hull top clear of the water level, in order to allow water in the hull to be pumped or drained out. The vessel was then placed on a bunded flat top barge for transportation to a disposal site.

Parking at the marina was severely restricted, and no berth holders or visitors were allowed onto the pontoons during the lift.

Tomorrow should see the divers undertake a clearance of the seabed where the Kahu’s hull had rested, and a decontamination programme by Adler and Allan of the salvage containment area and barge.

The flat top barge, with Kahu onboard, will then be towed to Camber Docks in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port Harbour Master.

The Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service led the emergency response to the fire on Kahu, whilst Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is co-ordinating the recovery of Kahu, and the ensuing environmental clean-up operation.

Anti-pollution plan

Cowes Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: ‘We are making every effort to minimise disruption to river and harbour users and local residents, and I would like to apologise for any temporary disturbances that there may be over the next few days.’

A 360 degree boom was placed around the sunken vessel, designed to catch any oil escaping from the sunken Kahu, which is then skimmed off the water and put into tanks to be taken ashore.

It is estimated that approximately one third of the yacht’s diesel fuel has been recovered so far and removed ashore into a road waste oil tanker with the remainder still in the fuel tanks of the yacht.

Adler and Allan will continue this oil containment and removal until the risk of pollution has been eliminated, with the boat lift and transportation completed.

Meanwhile, CHC is carrying out inspections on the River Medina and around Cowes Harbour to check for instances of pollution. CHC is not aware of any significant environmental impact to date.

Report any pollution sightings

Members of the public are invited to report any evidence of pollution to the Cowes Harbour Office by email via chc@cowes.co.uk or by phone on 01983 293952.

CHC has issued an Emergency Temporary General Direction which restricts the transit of vessels over 48m in length without the written permission of the Harbour Master. A Local Notice to Mariners has also been issued, and both documents are available on the Harbour Commission’s website at www.cowesharbourcommission.co.uk
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Practical Boat Owner has teamed up with The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) to find the ‘GJW Marina of the Year’.

Nominations are open to any Gold Anchor rated marina but are made exclusively by customers. The number of berths in a marina is taken into consideration when counting nominations and they are calculated on a percentage of capacity basis.

There are four categories:
British marina of the year – available to UK coastal (tidal) marinas
Inland marina of the year – available to UK inland (non tidal) only
International marina of the year – available to non-UK marinas only
Employee of year – an international award, nominated by the boater

All nominations will be reviewed by a panel of independent judges, who will decide on the winner based solely on the customers’ feedback.

As part of the nomination form customers are invited to highlight an outstanding member of staff. This information is used to decide the Employee of the Year.

Category winners and the three runners up in each category will be announced at TYHA annual general meeting on 5 February 2014.

The award is also sponsored by PBO’s sister magazine Motor Boat & Yachting.

PBO Editor David Pugh said: ‘Over the last five years PBO’s Marina Price Guide has become established as the number one source for boat owners to find competitive berthing in their area.

‘The GJW Marina of the Year awards complement this by allowing customers to vote for their best marina, based on the facilities they enjoy and the services they receive. ‘We’re delighted to be involved.’

All about the boaters’ experience

TYHA General Manager Gareth Turnbull said: ‘This award is about the boaters experience and through our Gold Anchor Award Scheme we have inspected the marinas to ensure they are well managed and eligible to be nominated for marina of the year.

‘Whoever the winner is, they will certainly be offering something special to their customers.’

Award recipients have the right to use the logo and they will receive a framed certificate and trophy.
As well as having the rights to use the branding, winners and runners up will be announced in Practical Boat Owner, Marina World and Motor Boats and Yachting and through a press release issued by TYHA.

To apply email gturnbull@britishmarine.co.uk who will register your marina for the award. All nominations must be received by TYHA by the 1 January 2014 and the panel will confer during January to select the winner of each category.
Read more at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

 

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A major Atlantic storm has struck parts of England and Wales leaving three people dead and a trail of devastation in its wake. Several sailors were rescued in the build-up to the St Jude’s Storm, which battered boats along the southern regions of the United Kingdom.

Flights, train and ferry services were cancelled as gale-force winds and heavy rain swept through overnight and into this morning, leaving thousands of homes without power.

Cruise passengers’ cars were damaged when ‘severe seas and 70mph winds’ hit the Port of Dover.

The Met Office recorded a maximum wind gust of 99mph at 6am at Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight.

Three people have been reported dead: a teenager in Kent and a man in Watford were killed by falling trees, another man was found dead in a collapsed house in west London after a falling tree caused a suspected gas explosion.

A teenager is also feared dead after being swept out to sea, while swimming off Newhaven’s West Beach, yesterday afternoon.

 

Sailors rescued

Weather warnings were issued by the Met Office ahead of the storm’s arrival and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) called for boat owners to secure their vessels and then ‘stay away from the sea.’

But for some, last-minute preparations resulted in rescues.

Yesterday morning, Poole all-weather lifeboat was tasked to assist two people on an eight-metre yacht, who had got into difficulty while securing the cruiser’s lines in Poole Harbour.

As they prepared for the imminent storms, the yacht slipped its mooring and drifted into Whitley Lake, on the north eastern corner of Poole Harbour.

The lifeboat crew found the vessel heeled over in a precarious position and aground. The lifeboat crew attached a line to the yacht but could not get alongside in the shallow water. The inshore lifeboat attended and helped to get the vessel afloat and upright.

The yacht was returned to its mooring and made secure.

RNLI volunteer deputy coxswain Glen Mallen said: ‘With conditions worsening, the vessel would have not weathered the storm, it was a challenge to get it upright with the conditions out in the Harbour, but a job well done.’

Marooned as the storm approached

The Dart D Class lifeboat also rescued two yachtsmen trapped on their yacht as a storm approached.

The two sailors were marooned on their 28ft Falmouth workboat, moored above Dittisham on the River Dart. They had gone to check the yacht in their small inflatable tender with an outboard. By the time they had finished the weather conditions had deteriorated and with a severe storm approaching, they requested help.

They were taken on board the lifeboat and taken in near gale conditions, with their tender, to Dittisham.

Car damage at Europe’s busiest international ferry port

The Port of Dover has now re-opened and ferry services have resumed from the Eastern Docks with the Port’s tugs in assistance to ensure the safety of its customers.

Whilst there has only been some relatively minor superficial damage to the Eastern Docks, the Western Docks bore the brunt of the storm with around 50 Fred Olsen cruise customer cars, parked at the terminal, being damaged by the severe seas overtopping breakwaters in the high winds which at times were gusting above 70 miles per hour.

The Port of Dover confirms it will be providing every assistance to its cruise customers in dealing with insurance claims, onward travel arrangements or any other requirement to support them following this very unfortunate turn of events.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: ‘Together with the Port of Dover, we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that none of our customers is inconvenienced due to this storm and will be liaising closely with them to prepare for their arrival in Dover next week.’

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