Electrical issue caused rented cruiser to catch fire and sink in Shannon, report finds

Marine Casualty Investigation Board says exact cause of blaze ‘will never be determined’

An electrical issue on board a  Shannon cruiser led to the boat going on fire and sinking near Jamestown in Co Leitrim. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

An electrical issue on board a Shannon cruiser led to the boat going on fire and sinking near Jamestown in Co Leitrim. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

An electrical issue on board a relatively new, €300,000 Shannon cruiser led to the boat going on fire and sinking near Jamestown in Co Leitrim, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board has determined.

However, in a report on the marine incident published on Monday, the board also said that “the extent of the fire means that the exact component at fault” for the blaze “will never be definitely determined”.

The boat – a Linssen Grand Sturdy 35.0 motor cruiser – was rented from Carrickcraft in Carrick-on-Shannon on September 5th, 2020. The following day its four passengers had cruised some 45 minutes down river when a fire broke out in the engine compartment.

The passengers, who had been given training in emergency responses, donned lifejackets and telephoned the Carrickcraft base, from which an emergency crew was immediately dispatched. Gardaí and the fire brigade were also alerted, while a passing vessel was able to take the crew on board.

The Linssen, which a yacht broker said has a retail value starting at €316,500, was extensively damaged by the fire, before the vessel sank in about 8m of water.

Fire origins

Following an extensive investigation by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board and a separate investigation by the boat’s insurers, it was confirmed that the origin of the fire was at the starboard aft side (the rear right) of the engine compartment, and that the cause was an electrical malfunction.

However, the board found that while the fire started as a result of one of a number of potential electrical issues on board, the level of damage from the fire meant the exact component at fault would never be known.

The board made four safety recommendations, including the inspection by an independent qualified marine electrician of the remaining Linssen 35 vessels in the Carrickcraft fleet.

The board also recommended the Minister for Transport should consider making regulations to govern the safe use of recreational craft being used for commercial purposes, which should include mandatory fire detection on vessels used for charter purposes.

It further recommended the Minister for Transport should consider issuing a Marine Notice about the potential risks of electrical issues with similar craft.

Finally, the board recommended the Minister for Transport should send a copy of its report to the vessel’s manufacturer, Linssen Yachts BV.