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75m sailing yacht Phocea sinks after fire

23 February 2021 • Written by Miranda Blazeby

The 75 metre sailing yacht Phocea (previously Enigma) has sunk off the coast of Malaysia after the yacht caught fire last week.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, the Malaysian coastguard confirmed that Phocea sank at around 5am or 6am on February 19. 

The yacht, which is the ninth-largest sailing yacht in the world, was filmed on fire in strong wind conditions after the blaze was discovered by a local patrol vessel. It is reported that while the coastguard was able to control the fire, the damage to the hull was too severe and caused the yacht to sink. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Image (top) courtesy of @mwl3_tldm/Twitter

The vessel requested the assistance of the Langkawi Maritime Rescue Sub Centre and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency MMEA which began fighting the fire at around 8.18 am local time.

Kedah and Perlis MMEA director, Maritime First Admiral Mohd Zawawi Abdullah said the wind conditions were “making the operation difficult”.

“The seven crewmen were successfully transferred to KM Tenggol and they are safe and unhurt,” he said in a statement. “No oil spill was reported and we will continue monitoring the situation”.

The 75.12 metre Phocea was first built in 1976 for single-handed yachtsman Alain Colas as Club Mediterranée. In 1986 it was converted into a cruising yacht for French entrepreneur Bernard Tapie.

The yacht was then sold to Mouna Ayoub in 1999 and modernised during a refit at Lürssen. The yacht was sold again in 2010 to her current owners.

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