A yacht was destroyed by fire after catching alight in County Down, Northern Ireland early yesterday morning. The fierce fire engulfed a 40ft two-masted glass fibre yacht near Rostrevor Pier.
The owner had been contacted and confirmed there were two gas cylinders aboard the yacht but no people.
The Kilkeel lifeboat Frank William Walton was launched at 2.20am and quickly reached the stricken yacht which very quickly was ablaze from bow to stern.
One of the propane gas cylinders had already exploded so the lifeboat with, four fire-fighters from Warrenpoint and a mobile fire fighting pump aboard, stood off at a safe distance.
When the fire had somewhat subsided the lifeboat returned to the yacht and the flames were extinguished.
The lifeboat left the firefighters and the pump ashore at Warrenpoint and returned safely to the boathouse in Kilkeel at 6.45am.
Helm Gerry Smyth said: ‘It was vital that the lifeboat crew, the firefighters and the lifeboat were kept out of danger whilst there was the possibility of the gas cylinders exploding.
‘The yacht was extensively damaged and still afloat when we left the scene but importantly no lives were lost.’
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has cleared London Duck Tours to resume trips along the Thames, following last year’s mid-cruise fire.
Two vessels have been approved for use, following a Marine Accident Investigation Branch report, which pinpointed the cause of the blaze. It is believed that the boats’ buoyancy foam was to blame for the accidents, which resulted in 30 people being rescued and some passengers jumping into the Thames to avoid the flames.
An MCA spokesperson told the BBC: “The operator has been working to demonstrate that two of its vessels have been improved sufficiently to meet our safety requirements.
“We believe that we should shortly be in a position to issue a short-term certificate to allow them to operate for a period of three months.”
The company said in a statement on its website that it would be announcing the date of its return to the river “shortly”, with a normal service set to resume “as soon as possible”.