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24th November 2022

Ainscough lifts fire ravaged superyacht at Torquay Harbour

Ainscough Crane Hire recently worked with its client Teignmouth Marine Services (TMS) to retrieve a burnt out superyacht at Torquay Harbour.

In May of this year, a yacht was carrying around 8,000 litres of fuel went up in flames while moored in Torquay arena.

Teams from Tor Bay Harbour Authority, Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, the Coastguard and the Environment Agency worked to ensure the salvage and clean-up operation got underway as quickly as possible.

Ainscough Crane Hire recently worked with its client Teignmouth Marine Services (TMS) to retrieve a burnt out superyacht at Torquay Harbour.

TMS – a leading marine civil engineering company – secured the contract to recover the vessel with the project’s loss adjusters. Following investigations into the fire, Ainscough Crane Hire was appointed on a contract lift basis by TMS to devise a solution so the yacht could be recovered.

In a team led by Heavy Cranes Contract Lift Manager Patrick Denbyand and TMS’s Contracts Manager Rob Martin, Ainscough and TMS undertook several exploratory studies before deciding to use a floating crane, a solution used previously in Pembroke and Southampton docks.

A 500t crawler crane was positioned on a floating barge provided by TMS at Southampton before being towed to Torquay. A survey of the vessel had estimated that its weight would be 80t. However, due to uncertainties of how much water could be pumped out before and during the lift, Ainscough planned for 100t. The vessel’s final weight when as much water was removed as possible was 86t. TMS sourced marine equipment to meet the loadings required and supplied all vessels and dive teams to allow work to progress. TMS also undertook the cutting of the wreck and the removal of water to enable a lighter lifting load.

Ainscough’s team of Dave Hodgson, Carl Barton, Nigel Lindley, Kevin Scott began work at 8am, with the lifting of the vessel from the marina being achieved relatively quickly. However, it was then a significant undertaking to pump and disperse water from the yacht, meaning it was not fully lifted onto a barge until 9pm.

Several weeks later and following further fire investigations, Ainscough was again appointed by TMS to bring the yacht from the barge to quayside at Portland Harbour where it could be demolished, with a 750t crane used on this occasion by the team of Ashley Winter and Danny Carrick.

Patrick Denby, Heavy Cranes Contract Lift Manager at Ainscough Crane Hire, said: “This lift presented a few challenges. The yacht’s position at the bottom of the marina combined with the uncertainties of its weight meant we had to factor in a range of unknowns and plan accordingly.

“Our lift plan was informed with our own experience in lifting submerged boats. Ultimately, this meant that the lift itself went smoothly and safely and we were able to complete the operation and handover the vessel to the relevant authorities for further investigation before eventually bringing it to land for its destruction.”

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