Superyacht carrying 8,000 litres of fuel sinks after going up in flames in Torquay

  • Footage filmed by A&J Waste Services, BPM Media, ITV West Country, and Martin Underwood

A superyacht that was carrying around 8,000 litres of fuel has sunk after it went up in flames while moored in a Torquay marina.

Firefighters battled the blaze as it ripped through the 85ft vessel earlier on Saturday, with the fire service confirming at 1.30pm that part of the pier was also on fire.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) said it had five appliances at the scene, and the case has been handed over to the Environment Agency and the harbourmaster.

Officers evacuated a nearby beach and roads, with one witness describing the blaze as “like a fireball”.

Police said the cause of the fire is currently being treated as unexplained.

By around 6pm, the fire was out and crews were working on damping down the pier, a DSFRS spokesperson said.

Fire crews first got to the incident at midday. Credit: Georgina Cleasby

No injuries have been reported but the harbour was temporarily brought to a standstill, with fears over a large amount of diesel fuel on the burning boat.

A DSFRS spokesperson said earlier the yacht “contains approximately 8,000 litres of diesel fuel” and crews had deployed four breathing apparatus wearers, one compressed air foam jet, two 45mm jets, two pumps”.

Water relay was carried out by an open water source as well as a street hydrant.

Plumes of thick black smoke could be seeing pouring from the yacht, with smoke seen all across south Devon and as far as Newton Abbot and Shaldon.

Georgina Cleasby was cycling home from Brixham when she saw the fire. She said: "We reached the Grand Hotel at around 12.10pm and could see thick acrid plumes of smoke bellowing from Torquay Harbour.

One boat was reportedly towed away from the blaze. Credit: Philip Miller

"We stood and watched for around 10 minutes until the smoke began to affect our chests.

"There was so much smoke it obscured the sun.

"We heard a few minor explosions and could also see flames."

Devon and Cornwall Police said earlier they were moving people away from the pier as the fire was close. In a statement the force said: "The boat has now been secured by the fire service near the pier.

"There have been no reported injuries at this time. Emergency services remain at the scene where the incident is ongoing.

Credit: George Darling

"Due to levels of smoke and fumes we are asking residents in the area to keep their doors and windows shut at this time.

"Members of the public are also urged to avoid the area and beaches are being cleared by officers for public safety."

Drew Parkinson, coastguard area commander for South Devon & South-East Cornwall Coastline, asked people to avoid the area as coastguards assisted emergency services in tackling the fire.

The Environment Agency has been contacted for comment.