Vessel gutted by fire
Harbour Grace incident ruled accidental, with electrical issue in galley a likely cause
Although the smoke had cleared and the fire was put out, there was a sombre feeling on the wharf in Harbour Grace on Monday, Jan. 13 following the destruction of the Atlantic Navigator fishing vessel, a vessel managed by Quinlan Brothers Ltd.
An intense and frightening blaze the night before at Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises — formerly Dawe’s Welding and Sons Ltd. — left the 65-foot fishing vessel as nothing more than a shell of fiberglass and aluminum. Fire damage could be seen in the wheelhouse and through portholes in the hull . Nothing remained inside.
The Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived on scene at 9:30 p.m. to the sight of the Navigator up in flames. Some firefighters stayed well into the morning hours, keeping the hotspots inside the vessel under control, and protecting other nearby vessels.
Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department was called in for additional assistance, bringing with them the town’s aerial truck.
There was no one onboard when the fire broke out, investigators say.
Ocean Enterprises’ employees graciously gave spare jacks to the firefighters to hold up the vessel in order to prevent the vessel from tipping north, towards the neighbouring vessel, Ashley’s Pride, whose owner, Maurice Akerman, was at the site during the fire. There was only 10 feet between the vessels.
The vessel did have it's own electricity source, and investigators are looking hard at the likelihood that an oil furnace may have sparked the blaze.
A police investigator determined the fire appeared to be caused by electrical issues in the galley area of the ship.
The incident happened two days before owner — Ron Curtis of Port de Grave — was to retake possession of the vessel. It had been drydocked at Harbour Grace since October, and had just received a new paint job.
The cost of the vessel prior to the fire was estimated to be over $1 million, and contained some top-of-the- line equipment. The vessel is no longer seaworthy, and cannot be salvaged, said Ocean Enterprises operations manager Wayne Reid.
Although it was a rough night for those on the dock, Reid and general manager Paul Lannon confirmed it was business as usual the next day.
Employees with Ocean Enterprises were expressing relief the fire did not spread to other vessels, or happened on another part of the drydock. The damage could have been much worse, they said.
Firefighters battle a raging fire onboard the Atlantic Navigator on Sunday, Jan. 12 at the dock in Harbour Grace.