Devastating news arrives overnight from New Zealand, as a fire at the McMullen & Wing yard in Auckland has severely damaged the 50m project Star Fish, which was in the final stages of construction.
The blaze started at around 1am local time on Sunday, August 12, in the yard's largest construction shed where the finishing touches were being put to Star Fish, a 50m expedition yacht. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
Michael Eaglen, Commercial Manager at McMullen & Wing told us, "This is obviously devastating and we're just grateful that nobody was hurt. The damage is pretty bad and we have limited access at this time. It is a huge blow for our client's whole team and for our staff and suppliers who have all poured so much energy and love into this spectacular project. She was in the finishing stages of so many areas and it was getting very exciting.
"Thank you for all the support that has flooded in from all over the world. It is some blessing that only the shed that Star Fish was in has been damaged, the other four construction halls and the offices and workshops are OK. We are in the early stages of figuring out what to do next."
Designed by Greg C. Marshall, the 50m Star Fish is a successor to the 45m expedition yacht Big Fish, and the yard's biggest project to date. Being built for the same owner, the project was around six months away from completion, and they were mid-way through installing her interior.
David Porter, the yard's managing director, said, "Custom yacht building takes a long time and it’s when you reach these finishing stages and you see the whole yacht coming together that we are reminded of the full beauty of these yachts. The energy and excitement of the whole team as this enormous work of art and craftsmanship takes form is very special."
The yard will spend the coming days and weeks assessing the full extent of the damage and its impact on the project.