The luxury motor yacht Kahu caught fire and sank on Bonfire Night

The remains of luxury motor yacht that caught fire and sank in an Isle of Wight Marina have been raised.

The 23-metre long (75.46ft) cruisier Kahu, estimated to be worth $5.6million by Ancasta International Boat Sales which was selling it, became engulfed by flames while moored at East Cowes Marina on 5 November.

There were no casualties at all and nobody was onboard the Kahu at the time of the fire.

The submerged vessel has now been raised off the seabed, with air lift bags utilised to bring it up to just below the water surface from the river bed.

This morning a crane lifted the hull top clear of the water level, in order to allow water in the hull to be pumped or drained out. The vessel was then placed on a bunded flat top barge for transportation to a disposal site.

Parking at the marina was severely restricted, and no berth holders or visitors were allowed onto the pontoons during the lift.

Tomorrow should see the divers undertake a clearance of the seabed where the Kahu’s hull had rested, and a
decontamination programme by Adler and Allan of the salvage containment area and barge.

The flat top barge, with Kahu onboard, will then be towed to Camber Docks in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port Harbour Master.

The Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service led the emergency response to the fire on Kahu, whilst Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is co-ordinating the recovery of Kahu, and the ensuing environmental clean-up operation.

Anti-pollution plan

Cowes Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: ‘We are making every effort to minimise disruption to river and harbour users and local residents, and I would like to apologise for any temporary disturbances that there may be over the next few days.’

A 360 degree boom was placed around the sunken vessel, designed to catch any oil escaping from the sunken Kahu, which is then skimmed off the water and put into tanks to be taken ashore.

It is estimated that approximately one third of the yacht’s diesel fuel has been recovered so far and removed ashore into a road waste oil tanker with the remainder still in the fuel tanks of the yacht.

Adler and Allan will continue this oil containment and removal until the risk of pollution has been eliminated, with the boat lift and transportation completed.

Meanwhile, CHC is carrying out inspections on the River Medina and around Cowes Harbour to check for instances of pollution. CHC is not aware of any significant environmental impact to date.

Report any pollution sightings

Members of the public are invited to report any evidence of pollution to the Cowes Harbour Office by email via or by phone on 01983 293952.

CHC has issued an Emergency Temporary General Direction which restricts the transit of vessels over 48m in length without the written permission of the Harbour Master. A Local Notice to Mariners has also been issued, and both documents are available on the Harbour Commission’s website at

With pics:

The remains of Kahu being raised by inflation bags. Credit: East Cowes Marina

CHC’s HM1 patrol rib deploying Adler and Allan’s Tier 2 pollution response oil booms around the site of the sunken Kahu in East Cowes. Credit: Barney Sollars.

The fire onboard Kahu

Diagram of sunken Kahu at East Cowes Marina and environmental booming strategy – Courtesy of Adler and Allan.