Sprinkler and alarm system disabled while repair work was going on

Questions have been raised on one London newspaper website over the lack of fire extinguishing systems on board the preserved Tea Clipper ship, Cutty Sark, which suffered severe damage in a blaze early monday morning.

The worst damaged section appears to have been the stern of the 280ft ship and investigators are on the scene in Greenwich, trying to determine how the fire was started. Arson is still suspected and CCTV footage is being reviewed for the period before the emergency services were called.

Renovation work that meant much of the ship’s original rigging, her masts the wheel and master’s cabin, had been removed from the site and is therefore undamaged. However, Dr Eric Kentley, a senior consultant at the Cutty Sark Trust, told www.thisislondon.co.uk that the sprinkler system had been taken out when the bulkheads were removed and would have been put back once it was open to the public again.

The ship’s insurers, Royal Sun Alliance have yet to comment on whether the ship’s insurance policy was invalidated by the removal of fire protection systems. Experts have estimated the cost of repair could be in the region of £35 million.