A nuisance for all tourists, not only water sports enthusiasts in the Istrian town of Medulin: For five days now, the wrecks of several burnt-out boats have been bobbing in the shallow water along the promenade of the town harbor. Plastic parts float in the water, it smells of burnt plastic and oil leaks unsecured. Apparently, no one feels responsible to clean up the wrecks after a fire in the city port of Medulin on August 26, 2021, which killed six boats.
The video shot during the fire in Medulin town harbor gives an idea of the power the fire sparked.
Fueling from canister while the engine was running?
What had happened: As reported by locals present, on Sunday, August 26, 2021 at about 14:15 h, a skipper tried to refuel his boat from a gas can while the engine was running. Obviously, he did not prove the necessary accuracy, because gasoline or gasoline vapors ignited, followed by a huge jet flame. The crew saved themselves with a courageous jump overboard into the harbor basin, the burning boat drifted, so it was described, rudderless in the city port of Medulin and ensured that other boats caught fire.
No personal injuries
The result of the improper refueling with the engine obviously running: six boats completely or partially burned out and property damage in the five- to six-figure range. Three emergency vehicles of the fire-brigade Pula could bring the fire only after several hours under control and let the boat of the causer burn down in the port center controlled. According to initial information, no one was injured.
Cause: ignition of gasoline vapors in engine compartment
The culprit, as reported by the media, is said to be a 52-year-old German citizen, and there were two other Germans on board. In the course of an investigation carried out in the meantime, fire experts were able to clearly establish, it was further reported, that sparking and the ignition of gasoline vapors during the operation of the engine in the engine compartment as the cause of the fire.
Many onlookers at the Medulin city harbor
Due to the strong smoke and the still high number of tourists in Medulin, there were many onlookers at the town harbor, who probably used the enormous black column of smoke from the burning boat for orientation.
Wreckage remained on the beach
However, what happened afterwards is not nice: the burnt-out wrecks remained lying on the shore, apparently no one feels responsible for the salvage and removal, not even the municipal company Buza, which is responsible for the city port of Medulin.
Fuel and lubricants leaked
The pervasive stench and leaking fuels and lubricants is upsetting not only vacationers, but also restaurateurs on the waterfront, who are calling for the speedy removal and elimination of the avoidable environmental damage, as reported by several vacationers.
Engine oil and diesel make for stench
A skipper, who felt affected by the rather indifferent treatment of the consequential damage of the fire, wrote to the editors, “In the town harbor of Medulin, four boats burned out on 27.8. They were towed into the shallow water next to Ristaurante Mizerija and secured to the quay by the harbor supervisor with reef cords. Oil, diesel and plastic parts spread unhindered in the bay. Depending on the wind direction, there is a smell of charred plastic. It would have been easy to bring the boats ashore to avoid environmental damage.
General problem in Croatia: who is responsible for the wrecks?
This is probably a general problem in Croatia, because even in the fire in Kastela marina, the burnt-out yachts were pulled ashore, extinguished and remained on site for a long time without any real care being taken for the wrecks and the burnt individual parts on the beach. Apartment owners near the beach raised the alarm because guests complained about the polluted beach and some of them left early. The authorities in Medulin can be sure that they will keep an eye on further developments.