Black smoke was sent billowing into the skies at 13:30 yesterday afternoon when the ‘Sealine’ motor cruiser caught fire. Explosions could be heard as the blaze ripped through the entire boat, resulting in the vessel eventually sinking and diesel polluting the harbour.
Amazingly, a father and his 2 young sons were able to escape the blaze without injury.
A clean up operation is underway and therefore the harbour is to remain closed for the time being, under notice of Queen’s Harbour Master for Portsmouth.
Arrangements are being made to remove the vessel as soon as possible. In the meantime it has been marked off with buoys.
A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight Council has said:
“The council has deployed a ‘working boat’ to the harbour this morning to clear away any loose floating debris that remains. Until the boat is recovered, the council’s harbour master will be working with users of the harbour to ensure their safety is maintained and that the harbour can be quickly brought back into use during this busy summer holiday period.
An Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said:
“We believe that most of the diesel fuel that escaped from the vessel was burnt off, and therefore, the risk of marine pollution is minimal”.
The pontoon adjacent to the fire has been badly damaged, so will need to be replaced, which will restrict capacity within the harbour in the short term. The council is currently seeking quotes and checking with insurance providers about when this can be undertaken.