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CHC responds to motor yacht fire in East Cowes

06 November 2013

The loss of the luxury motor yacht Kahu, a 23 metre vessel that caught fire and subsequently sank whilst moored at East Cowes Marina on Tuesday afternoon, 5th November, has been widely reported locally. The fire took hold onboard the Kahu just after 1300 and the incident was attended by the Fire, Police and Cowes Harbour Commission Services. 

Teams tackled the fire from onboard the yacht, from nearby pontoons, and with the assistance of Cowes Harbour Commission’s 16m Multi-Cat Seaclear. Despite this, the Kahu sadly sank at 2245 on Tuesday evening, with approximately 8,000 litres of marine diesel fuel oil on board. Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) deployed oil spill prevention booms around the vessel during the fire. 

Cowes Harbour Commission’s response was directed by Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh, who immediately activated CHC’s Harbour Emergency Plan and Oil Spill Response Plan in order to minimise the impact of any potential pollution incident arising from the sunken vessel.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh reported: “Cowes Harbour Commission has a well planned and rehearsed response for pollution incidents with back-up from specialist Oil Spill Response contractor Adler and Allan. The majority of the diesel fuel appears to be contained within the vessel’s fuel tanks. The team from Adler and Allen mobilised their oil spill emergency response unit yesterday evening, which is still on scene, and involved deploying further oil booms around the vessel to minimise any potential pollution.

“CHC has a statutory obligation to have an effective Oil Spill Response Plan in place, and our staff are trained to respond to just such an incident. We continuously review and update the plan, and hold regular exercises to test effectiveness so that we are prepared for scenarios like the unfortunate sinking of the Kahu.”

Adler and Allan are still working with Cowes Harbour Commission to contain and recover the oil from the incident on the River Medina.

Photo: The burning motor cruiser at East Cowes. Credit George Chastney.


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