Superyacht's 'back-lit electric nameplate could have sparked inferno'

Superyacht owner’s ‘flashing back-lit electric nameplate could have sparked the inferno’ which destroyed the luxury £6million vessel at Torquay Marina

  • An 85-foot superyacht, which is called the Rendezvous, caught fire just before midday in Torquay Marina 
  • It was one of just 31 Princess Y85 superyachts in the world and sank after burning for around five hours
  • Sources say a flashing new nameplate may have been the cause behind huge inferno on Saturday afternoon
  • The owner is said to be a ‘wheeler-deeler Del Boy type’ and ‘very private’ and is currently abroad on holiday 
  • Firefighters say the yacht was thought to be carrying 2,000 gallons of fuel and had drifted from its mooring
  • The Environment Agency is in a race to prevent an oil spill after the luxury ship sank in Torquay, Devon
  • The £6million ship boasted four guest bedrooms, an al-fresco dining room, bar, sunpad, and two 55-inch TVs

A yacht owner’s ‘flashing back-lit electric nameplate’ could have been the cause behind the huge inferno of a £6million luxurious vessel at Torquay Marina on Saturday.

The 85ft Rendezvous yacht which set ablaze at 11.57am in the Devonshire marina was completely engulfed in flames within minutes and sunk three hours afterwards.

And now sources have said they believe the flash nameplate’s close proximity to 2,000 gallons of diesel on board was the cause behind the blaze.

The owner of the Princess Y85 superyacht, called the Rendezvous, understood to be a local businessman who is currently abroad on holiday.

A source told The Sun: ‘He’s a wheeler-dealer Del Boy type and very private. He recently had a back-lit electric nameplate put on which is near the fuel store.’

Another boat owner at the marina also told the newspaper: ‘His yacht’s been at Torquay for about three years and was only recently re-wired. That may be a factor in the fire.

‘It went up as the crew were getting in stores in readiness for a trip to Cowes for the Jubilee celebrations.’

The plumes of black smoke which could be seen across Devon caused the local council to tell nearby residents to stay in, with beaches also evacuated.

The South West Environment Agency set its focus on a pollution response with fears of an oil slick after approximately nine tonnes of diesel poured into the Atlantic Ocean.

The agency said: ‘Our officers are providing assistance to the Harbour Master Authority (HMA) to contain the oil and fuel within the booms that have been set up in the marina. 

‘The Environment Agency will be providing further advice in the coming days to the HMA on waste management as part of efforts to recover the sunken yacht.’

It added: ‘Our officers have been checking air quality around Torquay harbour following the yacht fire, which was declared a major incident. Thought to be no real issues with air quality but we’re keeping an eye on the situation.

‘With yacht now sunk, and with approximately nine tonnes of diesel on board, [the] focus [is] now on pollution. 

‘Pollution response led by harbour master. Our officers are helping with advice and guidance on bathing water quality.’ 

Oil spills can be detrimental to the ecological health of oceans, coastlines, rivers, seabeds and habitats of sea life.

The £6million boat was a luxury ship that could house eight passengers and had an al-fresco dining room, bar, sunpad, and a 55-inch TV.

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The luxury superyacht is one of just 31 such models the world and is in the top 10 per cent of fastest boats with a top speed of 33 knots.

It cost £6million and boasts an al-fresco dining room, bar and sunpad as well as one 32-inch and two 55-inch TVs.

The sleek ship has a fibreglass hull and was even designed by Pininfarina, the same company that designed almost every Ferrari car for 66 years between 1951 and 2017. 

It has four guest bedrooms that can house eight passengers and two staff rooms with space for three crew members. 

Furniture in the Rendezvous was likely either oak or walnut with granite or quartz worktops and LED deck-level lighting. Its twin fuel tanks made from NS8 marine grade alloy allowed the ship to carry 11,000 litres of fuel for the two MAN V12 engines.

Overall the ship is 26.2 metres long (85’11”) with a beam of 6.3 metres (20’8″) and a gross tonnage of 110 tons. 

It also had automatic and manual override fire extinguishers in the engine room as well as hand-operated fire extinguishers in every cabin, the galley, crew and lower helm.

Marina staff told MailOnline they were in contact with the Rendezvous’ owners and said they were likely going through a very distressing time.

Their lavish £6million superyacht was on fire for around five hours before it sank. 

A Princess Y85 superyacht, the same model as the Rendezvous, has a lavish interior set with either oak or walnut furniture

Rendezvous,an 85ft superyacht worth £6million which was carrying 2,000 gallons of fuel has sunk after it went up in flames at Torquay harbourside in Devon just before midday on Saturday

Firefighters desperately tried to extinguish the blaze as they watched the vessel slowly sink into the water

The raging inferno left the harbour wall at Torquay Marina in a state of great damage as Environment Agency workers rushed to stop an oil spill

It has a bar and sunpad as well as ample space to lounge on the £6million superyacht. The Rendezvous was built in 2010 and is one of just 31 in the world

The ship spans over two levels, with an al-fresco dining area on the lower deck with enough space for up to eight guests

There are four guest bedrooms with space for eight passengers, as well as an additional two crew cabins that can hold three members of staff

A high-tech dashboard completes the luxury feel of the multi-million pound superyacht that was designed by the same company that styled Ferraris for more than 50 years

A Princess Y85 also has the option to helm from the top deck with a superior view as well as electronic maps set into a sleek screen

Classy bar stools in cream and silver complement a wooden kitchen that has a view of the sea as well

An smaller indoor table has enough space for six people to eat comfortably if the weather takes a turn for the worse

Two single beds in the starboard guest cabin make the ship perfect for a family holiday with the kids

The bathroom has wood panelling and white marbled granite, adding a touch of class to the superyacht

Leading naval architect Bernard Olesinksi, who has styled hundreds of ships, helped to design the Princess Y85’s exterior

Although the ship has two main decks it has a third to house the ship’s powerful twin MAN V12 engines and an optional lower deck

Firefighters raced to Torquay harbourside after the plush boat caught fire shortly before midday. The flames and smoke caused by the blaze left some people trapped at the far end of the pier, according to one witness, with police confirming the boat drifted from its mooring. 

Emergency services declared a major incident and officers evacuated a nearby beach and roads, with one witness describing the blaze as ‘like a fireball’.

Dramatic footage on social media showed thick plumes of black smoke billowing across the harbour and flames enveloping the boat.

No injuries were reported but the harbour was temporarily brought to a standstill, with fears over a large amount of diesel on the yacht.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) spokesperson said the yacht contained ‘approximately 8,000 litres of diesel fuel’.

Police said no one was injured in the fire, which forced the closure of the harbour and waterfront as crews desperately tried to put out the flames.

Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘Police were called at 12.10pm [on Saturday, May 28] to Princess Pier in Torquay, following reports of a fire on a yacht in the marina.

‘The boat is believed to have caught alight and broke away from the mooring but was later secured by the Fire Service near the pier. There have been no reported injuries.

‘Shortly before 4pm the vessel became fully submerged underwater. The Harbourmaster supported by the Environmental Agency will look to safely recover the vessel in due course.

‘All road closures and majority of cordons have now been lifted and the public are able to access the area again. One cordon remains in place at the pier.

People contain an oil spillage at the scene where a yacht caught fire yesterday in Torquay Marina in Torquay, Britain, May 29

Oil spills can be detrimental to the ecological health of oceans, coastlines, rivers, seabeds and habitats of sea life 

The aftermath of the scene where a yacht caught fire in Torquay Marina in Torquay, Britain, May 29

An emergency response vehicle is seen near the scene where a yacht caught fire yesterday in Torquay Marina in Torquay, May 29

A pollution response unit is seen near the scene where a yacht caught fire yesterday in Torquay Marina

Environmental responders carry oil selective sorbents near the scene where a yacht caught fire yesterday in Torquay Marina in Torquay

‘Enquiries remain ongoing to establish the cause of the fire, which is currently being treated as unexplained.

‘We thank the public for their patience and support whilst officers closed Torquay seafront and the surrounding area.’

People living nearby were warned to keep their doors and windows closed to protect themselves from the hazardous fumes. 

Witnesses described seeing the flames burn through the rope mooring the boat, cutting it adrift so it floated along the marina before hitting a bridge, which acted as a barricade.

It later sank and by 6pm firefighters were damping down the pier, DSFRS said.

Torquay-based musician David Balmer, 58, said the sinking raised fresh concerns about fuel on the boat leaking into the water.

He said: ‘That could create another hazard in the harbour. They’re worried about the fuel getting into the water and into the harbour, which is obviously the last thing you want.

‘There were masses of people around. It was engulfed in flames and there was this huge cloud of black smoke.

‘It was quite a spectacle, it was just an unbelievable sight.’

One witness said onlookers had been told to leave the area because “there might be an explosion” and were moved to a safe distance away.

One witness told Devon Live they saw explosions shortly after the fire began while the boat was alongside the pontoon. 

They said: ‘Ropes burnt through and it drifted into pier. Firemen took trolleys and pumps along pontoons but water not reaching. 

‘Some people are trapped on the other end of the pier and can’t get back. Firemen are running along the pier. Still huge flames.’

Another described the blaze ‘like a fireball’. 

Grace Kedzior-Macdonough, 20, was visiting the seaside town with her partner when she heard ‘bangs or explosions’ coming from the harbour.

She said she saw crew in neighbouring vessels spraying hoses to stop them catching alight as the fire was ‘spitting’ flames out on to the water.

‘We were just confused at first because we were just sat round the harbour and there was just this black smoke coming from nowhere.

‘It was just getting worse because it broke off from the harbour because the ropes burned off and that’s when it travelled down [to] the bridge.’

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the yacht contains approximately 2,000 gallons of fuel and that crews are battling the flames. 

A spokesperson said: ‘Crews again confirm one 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. 

Three fire engines were on the scene after the 85ft motorboat went up in smoke in an attempt to tackle the raging inferno

Fire crews later managed to move the huge ship away from its mooring, which luckily was not too near any other boats 

Marina staff told MailOnline they were in contact with the Rendezvous’ owners and said they were likely going through a very distressing time 

Thick black smoke was seen rising from the Rendezvous superyacht on Saturday after the £6million ship caught fire

The superyacht was completely sunk by the inferno, leaving charred debris floating on the water of the Devon harbour

The smoking remains of the £6 million superyacht boat could be seen inTorquay Harbour on Saturday afternoon, with boats carrying firefighters still in attendance

Emergency services were alerted to the fire on the superyacht while it was moored on Princess Pier in the harbour at around midday

According to a spokesperson from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, five fire engines are on the scene after the motorboat caught fire

The boat was engulfed in flames and drifted off its mooring after the fire broke out, with one witness saying they heard explosions

‘The yacht contains approximately 8,000 litres of diesel fuel, crews are currently at work using four Breathing Apparatus wearers, one Compressed Air Foam Jet, two 45mm Jets, two Light Portable Pumps, water relay is currently being carried out by an open water source as well as a street hydrant being used.’

Smoke has been seen all across South Devon and as far as Newton Abbot and Shaldon, with the fire service saying they called for extra crews before arriving at the scene due to the sheer amount of smoke.

A spokesperson for the fire service told Devon Live that five appliances are at the scene, and that a ‘major incident’ has been declared, with the beach evacuated and residents urged to stay indoors. 

In a statement Devon and Cornwall Police said no one one was reported to be injured.   

‘Police were called at 12.10pm today to Princess Pier in Torquay following reports of a fire on a yacht moored in the marina,’ it said.

‘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.

A witness described hearing explosions from the boat shortly after it caught fire, adding that it had drifted from its mooring

It is not known at this time what caused the dramatic fire. It forced the closure of the harbour while firefighters battled the flames

One witness described the blaze ‘like a fire ball’. Police say no one is thought to have been injured in the fire, but crews continue to battle the flames

Smoke has been seen all across South Devon and as far as Newton Abbot and Shaldon. Residents are being warned to keep their windows and doors closed

Torquay Marina has space for almost 1,000 yachts and is one of the best-equipped harbours in the southwest of the UK (File image)

‘There have been no reported injuries at this time.

‘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.’

The plume of smoke from the fire could be seen rising high into the air above the picturesque harbour in Torquay in Devon today

Devon and Cornwall Fire Service said firefighters called for backup before arriving when they saw the size of the smoke plume while travelling to the scene

Crowds gather at Torquay Harbour to see fire crews trying to put out the raging inferno. Police have since closed the harbourfront and nearby beach

Firefighters could be seen using their water hoses to dowse the smoking carcass of the boat, while grey smoke rose into the sky

The Rendezvous, pictured here at Torquay Harbour on April 12, is a luxury pleasure craft built by UK boat maker Princess Yachts in 2010

The yacht, pictured here at the harbour in April, can hold 11 people – eight of whom are guests and three of whom are crew

Police closed a number of roads in the area while fire crews dealing with the raging inferno, including the promenade and waterfront areas. 

Roads traffic and monitoring service Inrix reported: ‘A379 Torbay Road in both directions blocked, queueing traffic due to fire services activity from Torquay Harbour to Road.’

According to SuperYacht Times the Rendezvous was built in 2010 by Plymouth-based boat maker Princess Yachts. 

The yacht has been in the harbour for at least a month, with photos taken in April showing it dwarfing other boats in the marina. 

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

Torquay Marina said in a statement that the area had been saved from a ‘major catastrophe’ by authorities and emergency services at the scene.

‘We had to deal with a major incident today. Sadly one of our boats was destroyed by fire. I can confirm there were no casualties or other boats damaged,’ the statement said.

‘Due to a fantastic team effort by the emergency services, harbour authorities, my staff and our customers, we were able to contain the emergency situation and avoid a major catastrophe.

‘We now have several booms around the area to protect the environment. Please continue to be patient during the clean-up process.’ 

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