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Osmond Chia and Wallace Woon
The Straits Times
May 30, 2022
Moments after thick black smoke emerged from a burning yacht that was docked at Marina at Keppel Bay on Monday morning (May 30), some mechanics resting nearby saw boatmen from other vessels running towards the location to try and put out the flames.
Eyewitnesses said around 20 men sprinted to the location with hose pipes and attached them to hydrants along the pontoon to spray water at the burning vessel, while some shouted “fire” to alert other boatmen in the vicinity.
The boats parked next to the burning yacht – some estimated to be worth millions of dollars – were quickly moved to safety by the boatmen, said one of the mechanics, Mr Sabiq Zainal, 34.
Mr Sabiq, who witnessed the scene behind the security access gate at the pier, said: “The fire was quite big. If these men didn’t run down, the fire could have spread to the other ships and maybe the whole lane would have gone up in flames.”
He added: “It was a fast response and what the men did was heroic.”
The boat is owned by financial service provider Advisors Alliance Group and a local team used it to sail across the Indian Ocean from Seychelles to Singapore earlier this year.
Two boatmen who declined to be named said the yacht is called Advisors Alliance II.
Firefighters from Marina Bay and Alexandra fire stations were at the scene at 11.30am and, with the help of staff on the premises, extinguished the fire in an hour.
No injuries were reported, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a statement.
Three water jets and three hose reels from the pier were deployed around the boat to prevent the fire from spreading to other vessels.
SCDF added that the cause of the fire is under investigation.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for Marina at Keppel Bay said there was minor damage to the exterior of vessels next to the burning yacht.
The marina is working with the authorities on investigations into the fire.
The spokesman added that all vessels are required to have insurance coverage in order to berth at the marina.
Videos of the incident were circulated on social media and some showed plumes of black smoke rising from the yacht, which was berthed among other vessels at the marina.
Other videos showed a group of people spraying water from a hose metres away from the burning vessel.
At around 5pm on Monday, the badly damaged two-hulled yacht – much of it submerged in the water – remained docked along one of the lanes.
Boat captain Rosli Sani, 53, who was on the pontoon opposite the burning yacht, said he saw one crewman working on board unaware of the danger.
He said: “It was only after we kept shouting ‘fire! fire!’ that he realised there was a fire and dived into the water to swim to safety.”
Another boat captain, Mr Mujuonor, 31, who goes by one name, said the quick response by the boatmen may have helped prevent millions of dollars of property damage.
Mr Lee Kok Wah, 51, a waiter at a nearby restaurant, agreed.
He said: “If the men didn’t help out, the fire could have burned up the whole place very fast.”
In a similar incident in 2018, members of the public reacted first to put out a fire that broke out in a yacht docked at Sentosa Cove. A child and 14 other people were hospitalised for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.