Boat catches fire in Hong Kong typhoon shelter
Often crowded marine site has long had fishermen concerned over fire safety
Thick black smoke billowed into the sky as a boat in the Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter went up in flames on Monday morning.
The Fire Services Department received the emergency incident report at about 9.30am, classifying the fire as a No 2 alarm vessel fire.
Fireboats arrived at the scene shortly, dousing the burning vessel with jets. Firefighters were also seen hosing down the blaze from shore.
A total of 70 firefighters, six jets, two breathing apparatus teams and five fireboats were deployed.
The blaze was put under control at about 10am, and the charred vessel was towed to shore, where firefighters and police carried out inspections.
Fire Services Department division officer for marine,Chan Wai-yin said initial investigations suggested the fire may have started in the engine room.
“As for the cause of the fire, we are still in the process of investigating.”
There was nobody on the boat – an 18 metre pleasure vessel – at the time of the fire, he added. No injuries have been reported so far.
It is understood that the vessel had been chartered for a fishing trip to Sai Kung that morning.
One of the 20 odd passengers that had chartered the boat, Mr Chow, said the initial plan was to depart at 10am, but when they arrived at the pier, they learned that their boat was on fire.
““They [the company] said they’d give us a refund,” he said.
The fire broke out in the typhoon shelter off Oi Kan Road, in Aldrich Bay, near the Marine Police Headquarters.
The location, often densely packed with fishing boats during the fishing moratorium and on public holidays, has long drawn concern from fishermen over marine fire safety.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday last September, five people were injured and two fishing families left homeless as a No 3 alarm fire swept through a cluster of fishing vessels at the same typhoon shelter. At least 10 boats were destroyed.
A yellow fire danger warning has been in effect since 6am on Monday, indicating that the risk of fire is high. Members of the public are urged to take action to prevent breakouts, and hikers should be vigilant against hill fires.