The 105ft luxury yacht Safari Spirit has been declared a "constructive loss" by its management company after a fire engulfed the vessel last Friday (April 27th). The vessel will not be repaired and the resulting damage is estimated at millions of dollars.
"I was asleep in a stateroom when I heard popping noises," said Captain Dan Blanchard in a statement recounting the moment he became aware that the vessel had caught fire.
"I quickly exited to the outside deck and woke up the engineer/mate sleeping onboard. We were both able to find our way safely to the dock and firefighters responded quickly.”
It is understood that the fire aboard Safari Spirit began at 1am on Friday. The 105ft superyacht was completely immersed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore.
Safari Spirit had been docked at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle for general maintenance in preparation for the upcoming Alaska cruise season. The vessel was scheduled to begin cruising Alaska's Inside Passage out of Juneau, located on the Gastineau Channel, on May 11th.
One online review describes Safari Spirit as the “epitome of yachting in the grand safari style.” The vessel had facilities for 12 passengers with “excellent dining, fine wines, cushy sleeping quarters and attentive service accompanied by wildlife spotting, nature hikes,” says the review.
Captain Blanchard, also the CEO of American Safari Cruises, and an engineer/mate were the only people onboard. “There were no injuries. The fuel tanks were not affected and there have been no spills reported,” said Blanchard.
An investigation is now underway to find out what caused the fire. American Safari Cruises is meanwhile making alternative arrangements for guests who were booked to charter the yacht. The company is working out compensation and the possibility of booking passengers onto other boats.
The incident aboard Safari Spirit is one of a number of shipboard fire incidents to have occurred in recent months, and a stark reminder of the importance of safety aboard luxury superyachts.
The previous Friday (April 20th), a short-lived fire in the engine room of Royal Caribbean’s vessel Allure of the Seas cut the boat’s power and forced it to change course to prevent smoke from blowing back into the ship.
In March, an engine room fire aboard the R-class cruise ship Azamara Quest left five crewmembers injured and cast adrift near the southern Philippines coast.
For advice and information on fire safety and equipment aboard yachts, search fire safety experts on Yachting Pages.