|Motoryacht StarFish Suffers Fire Damage at New Zealand Shipyard|
|Written by Kim Kavin|
|Monday, 13 August 2012 09:43|
The 164-foot Aquos motoryacht StarFish, which was nearing completion and scheduled to launch from New Zealand's McMullen and Wing in March 2013, has been severely damaged by fire in the shipyard.
I have confirmed independently through a knowledgeable source this morning that early online reports of the fire are true. Auckland Now is reporting that the fire occurred at 1 a.m. yesterday (Sunday, August 12). The New Zealand Herald is reporting that the fire took more than 10 hours to bring under control, with some 90 firefighters and 20 trucks responding. That report states that the blaze engulfed both StarFish and the surrounding shed.
YCO recently began advertising StarFish for charters in summer 2013 using renderings like the one shown at right. The company is expected to release an official statement later today about the fire. I will update this blog post as soon as that statement arrives. (Update: That release, along with new information, are posted here.)
Firefighters were still working on hot spots at the shipyard earlier today, according to Auckland Now. That report further states that until the fire is completely out, assessors cannot get to StarFish to fully investigate damage.
The Herald's report further states that StarFish was at the center of the fire and that damage is "extensive" through at least some sections of the yacht.
McMullen and Wing sources are quoted in both articles as saying that some parts of the yacht may be repairable, while other parts of the yacht will need to be rebuilt. Both articles also report that some staff members are in tears at the sight of the substantial damage. New Zealand's TV One is reporting that StarFish is "completely destroyed."
StarFish is a $49.5-million project, according to Aquos Yachts. She has been in build for two and a half years, conceived by the same owner who currently has the popular 147-foot motoryacht Big Fish in charter in the Society Islands.
I was just onboard Big Fish in Tahiti and Bora Bora a few months ago for an article in the current issue of Yachting magazine. (That article is not yet online.) Star Fish was conceived as a bigger version of Big Fish with additional amenities including two bridge-deck suites for charter guests. Both yachts are meant to provide charter clients with adventurous expeditions in remote locations such as the South Pacific and Antarctica.
Capt. Winston Joyce-Clarke of Big Fish told me during my recent visit that the owner planned to keep either Big Fish or StarFish and sell the other yacht after StarFish launched, or to sell both yachts if there was demand and then build a third, similar yacht at the McMullen and Wing shipyard, under the Aquos brand.
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