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Charter Yacht Seafaris burns and sinks

Discussion in 'Unique, Custom or New Yachts' started by Yacht News, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    What mega yacht is 41 M in length, has three guest decks and is on a catamaran hull? Not to let your thought process wander any farther, the answer to this question would have to be the double hulled Seafaris. Seafaris emerged entirely to the public in 2006 and later was put on the charter market through a notable brokerage company.

    Seafaris is not the first mega yacht to be platformed upon a double hull or catamaran hull. However, it is not every day that we see this application being thrust into use in terms of in the mega yacht realm. The Seafaris clearly has adopted this form of hull for her ocean-going adventures.

    The 41 M luxury catamaran was built by Forgacs Shipyard in Australia and she currently offers charters in the Great Barrier Reef region. Her interiors feature a litany of materials that appeal to the sensory capacities of her guests. Some of them include stitched leather, Australian Jarrah wood, cream suede as well as a number of artworks.

    Owing to the fact that the Seafaris carries a maximum of 10 guests, her accommodation plan calls for a Master and several guests rooms. In particular, there is one Master Stateroom and four guest cabins. That is, two guests in each guest room and two in the master.

    The master room is located forward on the Main-Deck and is generous in physical space as well as well appointed. The rich local woods beckon depth while the light colour and texture of carpet and headliners suggests a perfect contrast. Apart from the palette of colours in the space, there is a large king-size bed, additional seating, closet storage, owner’s study and off course a large ‘pop-up’ flat screen.

    Additionally, there is a large marble ensuite that reflects the rich dark woods and light opulent marble. Double sink marble vanity abounds with stainless steel accessories. There is also a large high-jet Jacuzzi with commanding seaward views. The guest rooms are well appointed as well and endow guests in a luxurious atmosphere.

    The four guest rooms are located on the Main-Deck as well and offer commanding views through the expansive windows. These rooms are equal in spaciousness each equates in a luxurious appeal. They all feature, king size beds, settees, writing alcoves and entertainment systems. Two of these rooms have the versatility to convert into double rooms. There are also, ensuite showers that reflect similar materials and colours. Double basins, art work and frosted glass door to the stand up shower and stainless steel accessories abound.

    Here are some statistics on the Seafaris:

    LOA: 41.0 M
    BOA: 11.0M
    Draught: 2.1M
    Engines: 2 X CAT 2,250 HP
    Speed: 16 knots
    Accommodation: 1 X Master, 4 X guests
    Builder: Forgacs Shipyard, Australia

    For more on the Seafaris luxury charter yacht visit the builder or yacht’s website at:

    http://www.forgacs.com.au/shipconstruction.htm

    http://seafarisaustralia.com/index.html

    sefaris_charter.jpg
  2. sussurro

    sussurro New Member

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  3. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    You got to it before me. This is such a sad sight...for any yacht to burn or suffer other mishaps.
  4. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    This is the first time I've seen this Press Release. Like most PR's, they're so boated on BS, the aroma penetrates your computer monitor. This PR on Seafaris was posted by Ron before I hired him as YF's new editor. Now all news goes through an editorial review before it is published. I have now edited the post.
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'm so thankful the people were smart enough to immediately abandon ship. I remember when I was only 13 or so, a small boat on a lake burning like that and the one thing I learned was how quickly the fire would spread on a fiberglass boat.
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Lucky they had something to abandon into as they are well inside the Saltwater Croc and Shark areas of FNQ.
  8. Chapstick

    Chapstick Member

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    A big boat "dumping its guts" would be even worse.


    They'd still have been jumping overboard with a steel hull.
  9. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Didn't realize this thread was up title rather innocuous ... but thanks for all the great info.

    This is sad to hear.
    Fire at sea is very serious business. As I remember the yacht was aluminum but may have had a fiberglass superstructure. Scary how far down and bad shape... thought aluminum hull might hold up better.

    Anyway was on a Navy ship with a boiler room fire in rather heavy seas... turned out very minor but really scary time for awhile. Later we had a main steam line crack and that was more scary for awhile... managed to isolate and get to port.

    You are on your own at sea... help is not an emergency call away.

    Fire on a yacht just is really scary as they are packed full of beautiful but easily ignited decor, crews and damage control fire fighting is very much not up to naval standards... plus the presence of guests must inordinately complicate matters.

    Really important the cause and modes get out asap to protect the yachting community from being unaware or unprepared.
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Ah, There's da rub; What happened, how was it addressed, How fast were the correct decisions made. Can we learn and improve other fleets.
    Glad to hear all folks are o k. Sad for a well liked ship.
    ,rc
  11. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Seafairis apparently burned down quite quickly and people escaped in their skivvies...

    What caused it is not generally known, could be most anything from smoking in bed to spontaneous combustion of some kind. So we do not know what caused the fire.

    Some comments Seafairis was a aluminum hulled fiberglass polyester superstructure.
    What we do know is it burned quickly and burned to the waterline and sunk.

    No matter what caused it and the actions that were taken or not taken if fighting the fire, the boat was reduced to the waterline and sunk. That is scary.

    Glass fiber polyester boats this is the usual result of a serious fire. Now this was an aluminum hulled boat with the composite superstructure... and the result is the same.

    Happen to visiting my brother. And, talking with my brother who is now retired but was until fairly recently Northrop Grumman's leading grey beard on composite process engineering and total quality management through most of the modern development of composite aircraft components and structures... he made some interesting comments:

    First, polyester resin systems are very poor in fire protection they ignite easily and burn hot with much toxic combustion products. They are not allowed in aircraft due to these issues and the outgassing of toxic chemicals.

    Epoxy resin composites are much better in fact the ignition temperatures are around 1200 degrees F. But they also can outgas toxic chemicals but that is resin dependent. All resin systems used in aircraft are "low smoke" and do not outgas toxic chemicals or make much smoke. The effect in a fire is charing not outright combustion as in polyester and other not fire safe resin systems. This makes the resin and the resulting composite structures self extinguishing which the epoxies are.

    The fiber used and process used in making a composite structure also effect the fire safety. Glass fibers can melt in the high temperatures of a fire. Even when used with a safe resin system... the resin chars but the glass melts leading to failure. This does not happen with Kevlar and Graphite... they have similar results in a fire... they char but do not melt or burn. Graphite you must remember is produced by pyrolysis polyacrylicnitrile "PAN" fibers.

    "A common method of manufacture involves heating the spun PAN filaments to approximately 300 °C in air, which breaks many of the hydrogen bonds and oxidizes the material. The oxidized PAN is then placed into a furnace having an inert atmosphere of a gas such as argon, and heated to approximately 2000 °C, which induces graphitization of the material, changing the molecular bond structure. When heated in the correct conditions, these chains bond side-to-side (ladder polymers), forming narrow graphene sheets which eventually merge to form a single, columnar filament. The result is usually 93–95% carbon. Lower-quality fiber can be manufactured using pitch or rayon as the precursor instead of PAN."

    The process applied to advance composite structures in aircraft practice reduces the resin content and improves fire safety. The structures are well consolidated and have low resin to fiber ratios.

    Now in my early engineering career my expertise was air crash safety. So I know these are rigidly tested and the certification is strict. This is a safety of life issue as crashes often result in very bad fires. From my personal observation the comments he makes bear out. Certainly steel structures perform well but second best is carbon and kevlar composite structures. The worst are polyester.

    Now when a fire happens in the boating world... my thoughts are its crazy to construct yachts out of polyester resin systems and with high resin to fiber ratios. It would be preferable to use graphite or kevlar and low smoke epoxy resin.

    Why is boats can sink far from help... and fire is the worst emergency at sea.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I did see this in a couple of articles, which doesn't address cause but, if accurate, would narrow it some. Of course early reports sometimes are inaccurate too.

    "The McCloy Group, the holding company that owns Seafaris, has issued a statement confirming that the fire started in the vessel’s engine room."

    Makes me also wonder if there wasn't an explosion involved. That would help account for the speed and the sinking.
  13. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Maybe but I don't think it would have all turned to custard as quickly if it were a steel boat.
  14. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    K1W1 is right... steel is best for fire protection and safety.

    Composites can be very safe in fires and preventing heat transmission... if made of the right stuff and I give reentry heat shields as the ultimate example!

    Now if the fire started in the engine rooms it seems some form of automatic fire fighting system should have deployed.

    As Seafaris was an aluminum hulled catamaran the engine rooms might not have been as accessible as conventional mono hulled boats... and there would be two (one in each hull). The Cat 3516s I understand were installed are massive engines with little probability of fire issues.

    But we don't know what kind of connecting vents or opening were between the engine rooms and the superstructure so we don't know about fire stops... nor any of the details other than the own believes the fire started in an engine room.

    So hopefully those details will become public... as opposed to the Yogi investigation... but in this case at least it appears good reason to abandon ship rapidly.
  15. Chapstick

    Chapstick Member

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    I'll admit to having only a superficial understanding of the following, and I don't have time at the moment to understand it better, but I'll just leave it here for others with more knowledge than myself to comment on:

    What are phenolic composites?
  16. Ward

    Ward Senior Member

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  17. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    I notice that Danish yachts have achieved SOLAS certifications on their epoxy graphite SWATH Catamarans...

    Danish Yachts SWATH 25M | Danish Yachts

    Now a couple comments yes phenolic composites are very good in fire protection. But polyimides are the best. Imides are basically Kevlar in a resin form.

    I have carried a polyimide film safety hood on commercial airplane trips for now almost 30 years. I had the composite shop (aircraft producer not named) make it up for me... with a carbonized kevlar tie cord to secure it. This was to go over the head in a crash and fire situation to protect from smoke inhalation and give a few breaths of captured clean air. Still have the same hood in a plastic bag after all these years but now-a-days the security inspectors always wonder about it if they had inspect my bag. You can now buy these.

    But back to fire safety the comments on the performance of both steel and aluminum are spot on. I have seen many many fire tests on various materials for aircraft use.
    But steel is very good but the heat transmission is bad. My programs analyst back in the day... her father was a Pearl Harbor survivor and had bad burns from radiant heat. He was on the ship next to the Arizona and remembered the traversing passageways with glowing red hot bulkhead and hull structure. He was horribly burned by this radiant heat.

    The mineral wool insulation used on many aluminum hulls for hull insulation is absolute fireproof and very very good at insulating from very high heats. However, to stand up in a fire it must not be the light fluffy stuff used on yachts but the hard solid compacted fiber type panels. Why is the convective issues... if purely radiant heat that would work. If used correctly it can make an aluminum hull safe as a steel one... but it will add mass.

    My opinion is likely a carbon composite construction with a low smoke self extinguishing resin is the safest in a fire...of practical yacht constructions if constructed correctly. So Danish yachts is not far off the mark.

    For traditionalists this might mean a steel hull with the fire safe composite superstructure.
  18. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Google coughed up this, look about half way down.

    Fibermax Composites - Types of resin systems

    The boat that this thread discusses was not built from Phenolic Composite or any other exotic material.
  19. Chapstick

    Chapstick Member

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    To meet stealth, strength, fire safety and cost requirements the new Zumwalt class destroyers' deckhouses are made from balsa-cored carbon-vinylester resin composite, so sounds like you're pretty much spot on.

    DDG-1000 Zumwalt