Video: Five rescued from fire on environmental crusader Porrima

Five crew members have been rescued from Porrima, the experimental Swiss yacht, after fire broke out in its battery compartment (12 Aug 2022).

According to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), “the yacht had raised a MAYDAY request due to fire in its battery compartment.”

In response to the SOS call, ICG sent a fast patrol vessel through heavy weather to the yacht’s vicinity, however, the yacht drifted towards the shallow water and reported heavy flooding along with the fire. ICG then launched a helicopter to rescue all five crew during heavy rain and strong winds.

The yacht, on its passage from UAE , arrived off Mandwa, Mumbai for shelter on 28 June 22, to undertake repairs for continuing its further passage to Maldives.

Porrima is powered solely by renewables, and utilises artificial intelligence and technologies. It was on a ‘Blue Odyssey’ journey across five continents.

According to the Hindustan Times the vessel had faced some technical issues.

“They applied for maintenance at JNPT and Mumbai port,” Rajiv Patil, assistant police inspector from Mandwa Coastal Police Station told the paper, after the crew were rescued from Porrima.

“It is a 36m long yacht and operates on solar, wind and hydrogen. Due to these features, the maintenance request at these ports was rejected. The Swiss-made experimental yacht was staying put at Mandwa and the crew members were in the yacht itself as they did not receive clearance from immigration and FRRO. On Thursday, two of the crew members received temporary landing permission and they left, and the yacht was left with five people.”

Seemingly technicians from Atlantic Global Shipping were able to help and the yacht finally departed from Rewas port in Alibag Taluka. After travelling for around 20 nautical miles, it started showing technical trouble again. The crew tried anchoring the yacht but the anchor drifted away.

“By 3am on Friday, when there was a blast, we raised an alarm with Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Mumbai (MRCC). The biggest challenge was the darkness and strong winds, yet the coast guards reached us and rescued us safely,” captain Karuna Nidhan Pandey told local media.

“Once there was a blast in the battery room that caused the fire, we took the decision to press the emergency. By 5am, the team reached and we were airlifted,” Pandey says.

“The rough weather that the yacht had to go through after reaching the Indian coast and lack of sunlight could have caused the technical issues.”

Vessel after the crew was rescued from Porrima

A brand new ISA superyacht Aria SF was engulfed by fire while cruising off the coast of Formentera in Spain earlier this month (11 Aug 22), and a 27 metre Pershing 88 superyacht caught fire off the coast of Positano, Italy, in late July. MIN previously reported that lithium-ion batteries have been the suspected cause of notable marine fires in recent years.