McMullen & Wing (M&W) says it is “quite hopeful” of being able to repair the 50m (164ft) expedition superyacht Star Fish to her full glory following the fire that broke out at the New Zealand boatyard last Sunday.

M&W commercial director Michael Eaglen told SB: “A final decision will involve lots of detailed investigation which will have to wait until the cause investigations are completed. But having seen what we have seen we are quite hopeful that we will be repairing the damage and moving on with completing Star Fish to her full glory.”

All this follows the first tour around Star Fish by M&W executives three days after the blaze which showed that the steel hull and lower superstructure appears undamaged.

“The interior is largely gutted and the aluminum superstructure is almost entirely destroyed,” Eaglen added. “The engine-room, engineer’s cabin, sports room and lazarette appear almost entirely unaffected.

“We will be releasing photographs later in the week. The fire investigators are still on the scene. They have ruled out a number of possible causes but have yet to make a final determination as to why the fire started. They have ruled out foul play, which of course we are very pleased to hear.”

Eaglen confirmed that Star Fish was fully insured to her full contract value but he declined to give a value or the name of the major global underwriter concerned.

In terms of the fire investigation Eaglen explained that: “The fire department are making the official inquiry, and we also have investigators from both insurers (vessel and building) including some specialist technical people.

“They are covering much of the same ground as each other, and are working together in some respects to establish the answers for us as quickly as possible.”
As to the damage to M&W’s construction hall, he commented: “It’s a simple structure. Structural steel portals are intact. Cladding and roof are expected to require replacement. Gantry cranes have yet to be assessed, but we are hopeful that the beams remain sound, although the tracks are buckled.

“There is very little water damage to adjacent workshops, and no damage to our offices or other construction halls on-site. Overall the company’s infrastructure and resources are unaffected, and most importantly, none of our staff have been injured.”

Firefighters were called to McMullen & Wing’s premises in Auckland New Zealand in the early hours of Sunday morning 12 August to find the 50m (164ft) steel and aluminium motoryacht Star Fish ablaze in the shipyard’s largest construction hall.

She was nearly two-and-a-half years into her three year build programme, with structural fabrication finished, coating systems well progressed, mechanical systems nearing completion, electrical and electronic systems well advanced and her interior fitout mid-way through installation.

Star Fish is McMullen & Wing’s largest project to date. As a completed vessel, she would have a total value in excess of NZ$50m.

McMullen & Wing’s workshops, office space and other four construction halls were spared by the fire and remain fully operational. The company has a refit project for a commercial aquaculture vessel underway in another construction hall, which was also unaffected.