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Nineteen yachts destroyed in boatyard fire

Nineteen boats and yachts were destroyed by a fire which broke out at a private boatyard near Għargħur, Malta in the early hours of Thursday 1st February.

The incident happened in the Tal-Balal area just before 1:00am after a loud explosion was heard, with all 19 boats having been completely destroyed. The Civil Department reported that personnel managed to prevent the fire from spreading further, despite a quantity of tar also believed to have caught fire.

The operation lasted over seven hours and involved four officers, 14 firefighters, and eight fire trucks. No less than 180,000 litres of water and 7,000 litres of foam were used to bring the inferno under control.

The police have said there were no injuries.

A witness on the scene, Lilian Chetcuti Riolo, reported on Facebook that for a time the fire was out of control and firemen were doing their best to stop other boats from catching alight. She stated that a few of the boats were “over €250,000 each.”

A man reported how boat owners were seen crying in the boatyard as months of hard work went up in smoke.  

Speaking to TMV, pleasureboat owner Chris Sammut said, "We were preparing it for the summer. Apart from the financial element, this means I’m going to lose out on a summer’s pleasure.”

The cause of the fire is not yet known, and a police investigation is now ongoing with the assistance of experts.

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