Everyone is talking about the recent fire aboard two superyachts in Marmaris, Turkey, and our thoughts go out to all those who worked on board and also to the fire fighting teams who helped. To watch a beautiful vessel being destroyed by fire is not pleasant, yet we are always drawn to these stories and, once we know that no one was hurt, we breathe a sigh of relief that we weren't involved.
But the truth is, we are involved, as we are all a part of this industry and should think about what we can do to make a difference. We all have a duty to assess how we manage our projects from the beginning to the end of a build, including fire prevention, security and safety.
Many fires aboard superyachts are quoted as being started due to an electrical fault or surge and, once the electrical supply is tripped, many other safety features reliant on power are also affected. This is why we always suggest the use of a fire prevention solution which does not rely on any power source. Once flame retardancy products have been applied, they work with or without power, whether the vessel is manned or not.
Above 500GT, all yachts must have an automatic sprinkler or similar system on board to comply with LY2/LY3 regulations. However, only vessels under 500GT are required to have flame retardant applications. We would recommend that this passive application which works 24/7 should be added to ALL superyachts. In many instances this type of professionally applied treatment will prevent and extinguish a fire before it can take hold. Remember this is providing pro-active protection, rather than being reactive after the event.
Flame retardant applications will never replace automated sprinkler systems. However, to provide an extra level of protection, peace of mind, and the opportunity to extinguish a fire before it takes hold sufficiently to activate that system, surely they need to be considered. The added bonus is that if a small fire is extinguished before arming the automated system, then the area of damage will be much smaller and more cost effective in time and resources to make good repairs. This is especially important if the vessel in question is in the middle of a busy charter season.
The images that we have seen of these burning superyachts are a chilling reminder of the power of fire and the devastation it can cause. No doubt, in the coming months we will learn more about the hows and whys of what ultimately happened in Marmaris. But should we really just leave it at that?
We think everyone connected to this industry should take some time out of their busy day to think about what they can do within their own area of expertise to improve safety on board superyachts. Whether you are an Owner, Captain, Yacht Builder, Interior Designer, Fire Safety Company, Insurance Broker, Recruitment Agency, Refit Company, Yacht Registry or Marina, we challenge you to take 15 minutes of your time to think about what you can do to make a difference and, if you can, implement those changes.
This will mean that the next time we all read about a fire on board a yacht, at least we can say that we have made positive changes to save lives and improve safety at sea.
Watch the VIDEO of the recent fire on board M/Y The One (73m) and M/Y Barbie (52m) in Marmaris.
Flame Screen Limited is a specialist marine company, providing MCA MGN453(M) compliant on-board flame retardant treatments to the super yacht industry, using some of the world's most advanced range of liquid flame retardant technologies. Their expertise in the field of fire prevention means they are able to advise on marine legislative requirements and the resultant compliance required in respect of flame proofing.