C5/2001M Motor Yacht my LINDA MARIA, Fire in the Port of Tallinn on 8.6.2002
The 16-meter long motor yacht LINDA MARIA of type Princess 55 sailed on 8th June 2001 from her berth in Haukilahti, Espoo to Helsinki South Harbour. There were three crew members on board. In the South Harbour nine passengers boarded the yacht. Their passports were checked at the Coast Guard Station in Suomenlinna. The LINDA MARIA then proceeded to Tallinn, Esto-nia. Everything was fine during the passage to Pirita Marina’s breakwater, Tallinn. When passing the breakwater a smell of burning plastic was noted. The odour rapidly got stronger. The Master decided to berth immediately at the Coast Guard’s Pier to get all persons ashore as soon as pos-sible. When berthing, the vessel was already on fire and the crew and the passengers had to abandon the yacht in a hurry. The fire brigade was called and the fire was extinguished. There were no personal injuries but both bridges, as well as the interior of the vessel, excluding the en-gine space, were almost totally destroyed. The hull did not burn and so the vessel stayed afloat.
The Accident Investigation Board decided on 26th June 2001 to conduct an investigation to find out the cause of the fire. A preliminary investigation was carried out in Tallinn Port. The wreck was then transported to a warehouse in Finland where an investigation was carried out lasting several days. The investigators thoroughly inspected all the fire damages and photographed the wreck and the fire residues. Based on the fire intensity it was determined that the fire started in the bottom corner of the electric switchboard where seven battery cables are situated. The view of the investigators is that there had been a short circuit between two electronic cables and it was this that started the fire. Some additional short circuits were later caused by fire.
It is recommended that the battery cables in Princess 50- and Princess 55- type yachts should be inspected yearly, especially under the switchboard and where the cables run between the engine space and equipment compartment. If any traces of wear and tear are found then the cables should be protected against friction caused by vessel vibration.