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Aberdeenshire boat crew escape fire thanks to toilet trip

Buchanness Lighthouse, Boddam beside Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (iStock)
Buchanness Lighthouse, Boddam beside Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (iStock)

AN early morning toilet visit was behind the lucky escape of a fishing crew after their boat caught fire.

At around 5am on August 16, 2016, an electrical fire started in the mess room of Ardent II while it was docked in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

By chance, one of the crew had got out of bed to go to the toilet, smelt and saw smoke, and raised the alarm.

All three crew on board managed to escape on to the quay.

Just 10 minutes later, flames could be seen coming from a watertight doorway on board.

Firefighters tackled the blaze until around 12.10pm, believing it had been extinguished.

But more flames were later spotted, and emergency workers battled through until the afternoon of the following day.

A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch established a multi-socket adapter was the most likely cause.

It also found there was no smoke detector fitted in the mess room and it was “fortunate” someone woke up to discover the blaze at an early stage.

The investigation deemed it likely the crew were influenced in their decision to evacuate the boat, rather than to attempt to contain and extinguish the fire, because the quay offered a safe haven.

Ardent II was later declared a “total loss”.

The three Filipino crew members had been working on board the vessel for at least six months.