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Classic ketch gutted in boatyard blaze

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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RASSADA: Police suspect that a smoldering cigarette butt caused an early-morning fire that gutted a 25-meter yacht in dry dock at Phuket Fishing Port.

Maj Wicharn Suwannasit of Phuket City Police told the Gazette that he was notified of a boat ablaze just before midnight on Monday night.

Police and firefighters arrived to find several people trying to douse the fire, which police suspect had started in the engine room of the two-masted ketch.

The fire was reported by Korrakot Pereepas, an employee at the port. “I called the police as soon as I noticed smoke and fire coming from the engine room. Firemen took until 6 am to fully extinguish it,” he said.

“The boat is owned by a foreigner,” he added.

The vessel was the Andaman Eagle, a wooden ketch formerly named John Sandy, that had been used for private charter by Rawai-based Dive Deck Co Ltd.

A source at the company today told the Gazette that the Andaman Eagle had not been used commercially during this high season, but declined to give further details.

The vessel had been in dry dock for four months before the fire, Maj Wicharn confirmed.

Workers at Phuket Asian Marine Co Ltd, located at the port, had recently removed the boat’s engine as part of work being carried out on the vessel.

Police suspect one of the workers may have left on board a lit cigarette that started the fire, he added.

No people were on the boat when the blaze broke out, Maj Wicharn said.

Maj Wicharn declined to confirm one media report that estimated the value of the boat at 30 million baht. “I cannot estimate the value until the owner informs us of what valuables and equipment were on board,” he said.

However, Maj Wicharn admitted that he still does not who owns the yacht as he had yet to receive the boat’s documentation from Phuket Asian Marine.

The manager of Phuket Asian Marine was unavailable for comment.

According to a description of the vessel at dive-phuket.com, the Andaman Eagle was built in Sweden in 1933. The yacht was sunk by the Allies in the Baltic Sea during World War II when it was part of the German fleet. The boat was later salvaged and fitted with two masts.

Since then, the Andaman Eagle has been sailed around the world three times by different private owners.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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