About the extent and the cause of the devastating fire in the Dalmatian marina Kaštela there is currently a lot of speculation, not only in skipper circles, whereby fiction and truth are not necessarily always exactly separate from each other. The SeaHelp editorial team wanted to know more and spoke to Luka Berket, managing director of the agency of Marina Kastela and its in-house charter fleet BavAdria Yachting in Graz, Austria. He is also the son of the founder of Marina Kastela, Capt. Josip Berket and has been able to give us more detailed insight into what is happening.
6 yachts totally destroyed, about 10 others damaged
According to his information, six yachts were totally destroyed in the fire, and some considerable damage was caused to about ten other yachts. However, due to the prudent behavior of both the firefighters and the marina staff, personal injuries were avoided altogether.
Luka Berket: “The cause of the fire is speculated quite a lot and extensively, but we ask for understanding that first of all the police and the fire experts must do their work. Their results we can not and do not want to anticipate.” The increased to read and hear speculation, it could be arson, Luka Berket gave, however, a clear rejection: “It was clearly a human error, so much can be communicated at this stage quite already.”
High fire safety requirements
Fact is: The fire in the Marina Kaštela spread rapidly, only the firmly rehearsed protocols on how to proceed in such a situation could still prevent worse. Luka Berket: “Our marina has high fire safety requirements and conducts drills with local firefighters at least once a year to automate certain procedures and ensure corresponding processes run smoothly.”
Powerless against burning GVK shells
But against the burning GRP hulls of the yachts, even the fire departments are largely powerless. The only way to sustainably limit the damage is to isolate the burning yachts or tow them outside the marina area, if that is still possible. “I have to thank for the almost heroic efforts of the staff, who used inflatable boats to tow the yachts already on fire outside the marina to let them burn there safely, without endangering other ships”, Luka Berket acknowledges without envy. However, his thanks also go to the firefighters deployed, without whose quick, competent action the fire could not have been brought under control so quickly.
About the development is now also clear after the fire disaster: After the fire broke out on a yacht, the flames spread in no time to the neighboring ship, whose lines also caught fire, tore and ensured that they were burning inexorably drifting against three other yachts on the outer jetty.
Burning yacht drifted against outer jetty
Currently, the fire experts are at work. They have to record and log the damage to the individual yachts. Most owners have also made their way to the Kaštela marina in the meantime to inspect their yachts, as heat and smoke development have certainly left behind even more damage than is visible at first glance.
Marina operations continue
The marina itself has continued its operations, although some of the damage from the night of the fire is still visible. The 13th edition of Croatia Nautic Show from 10. 6. to 13. 6. 2021 will take place unchanged, as assured. For appropriate discussion material should be provided there in any case.
Making fire protection even more effective
As far as future developments in safety standards are concerned, Luka Berket has already made a clear announcement: “Even though our fire protection meets the highest requirements in Croatian marinas, we have learned from this and will revise our protocols and regulations once again. We already guarantee that they go far beyond what is standard in Europe and they will be exemplary for effective protection of our guests in the future. While human-caused errors can never be avoided, there are ways to significantly reduce the consequences of these errors. This is what we have learned. Our goal is to transform Marina Kaštela not only to the safest marina in Dalmatia, but all of Croatia, without compromising the feel-good atmosphere for our guests.”