5th April 2004
Millions of dollars spent converting a former British navy vessel into a luxury motoryacht went up in flames today at Port Nelson.
Firefighters from Nelson, Stoke and Richmond were called to battle the blaze aboard the 58m former HMS Bulldog at 11.40am, as thick black smoke billowed from the burning ship.
The vessel is owned by a Hong Kong based businessman, who was rebuilding the vessel as a replacement for his current superyacht, the 36m Alyssa M.
In August last year more than $15 million was estimated to have been spent on the refit to
transform HMS Bulldog into Alyssa M II since it began in early 2002.
Electrician Martin Duffield said 40 people were working aboard at the time and all got off safely.
He believed a gas welder had possibly started the fire.
Nelson fire chief Kevin Smith said the fire was under control by 12.30pm as 24 firefighters, many using breathing apparatus, fought the blaze.
However, the vessel was extensively damaged.
HNS Bulldog was launched in 1968 and decommissioned by the Royal Navy in 2001. Project director Richard Fogarty said the ship was about a year from completion before yesterday's blaze.
He said the Alyssa M II was definitely salvageable.