A 25-metre boat caught fire at midnight on Wednesday in the west Majorcan port of Andratx, and all that was left yesterday morning was a floating wreck. Attempts were made through the first part of the day to seal up the leaks in order to stop the craft from sinking and contaminating the coastal water.

No-one had been injured in the fire as no crew or passengers were on board when the blaze started but the material damage was extensive. The boat hire and sale company to which the vessel belonged confirmed it had been built in 1945 and had currently been up for sale for 115'000 euros.

Guardia Civil officers in Palmanova and Andratx are setting up an investigation into the causes of the blaze and began yesterday by making a photographic record of the remains of the boat. Emergency services including the local fire station, maritime rescue services and the ports authority filed their reports for the police dossier. Rescue vessel Salvamar Acrux had been drafted into the area from its base at Puerto Portals and water was pumped onto the stricken vessel to extinguish the flames. Fire engines arrived with fire officers using rubber launches to enable the hoses to stretch over the water to the blaze. The flames were finally put out at about 1.30am although reserve officers remained on the spot to make sure they didn't flare up again.

The owners of the burned vessel were approached to ask for their account of how they believed the fire could have started. The blaze had caused a sensation in the port and throughout the morning, onlookers were getting as close as they could by sea or land to review the disaster.


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