By Humphrey Carter

AN 88-foot luxury sailing yacht caught fire in the Palma shipyard in front of the Cathedral yesterday afternoon injuring seven people and triggering a major emergency operation.

The alarm was raised at 3pm but shipyard staff were quick to begin tackling the blaze on board Tiketitan as four fire engines, 30 fire fighters and ambulances rushed to the scene which was quickly engulfed in a huge column of smoke.

The primary concern of the fire fighters was to prevent the flames from spreading to neighbouring yachts up on the hard while also establishing what kind of potentially dangerous liquids or materials may have been on board.

Fire fighters wearing special protective clothing battled the blaze from the ground and from platforms lifted over the burning luxury sailing yacht Tiketitan with the assistance of the Port of Palma's special emergency teams and the Guardia Civil while the Local Police cordoned off the area around the old docks until the fire was brought under control.

It appears that the fire began while the yacht was undergoing a refit and repair and eyewitnesses said that when the blaze first broke out and the thick column of smoke engulfed the vessel and began billowing into the sky, the situation was pretty tense.