Vessels destroyed by a fire in a dry port of Marseille

The fire destroyed by boats at the dry port of Batotel in Marseille © BMPM

The fire destroyed several pleasure boats in a dry port in Marseille. An investigation is under way into the origins of the fire that affected Batotel.

15 boats destroyed in a dry port fire

A fire broke out on Saturday morning, May 18, on the median of the Batotel company in Pointe-Rouge, Marseille. The flames destroyed about fifteen motor boats stored on the racks of this dry port located south of the Phocaean city. Arriving shortly after 6 a.m., the soldiers of the Marseille Mariners Fire Brigade were able to quickly extinguish the fire, which was still particularly dangerous on boats equipped with outboards usually powered by gasoline and stored with their fuel. It took 57 men and 19 vehicles to deal with the disaster and limit the damage on the site, which hosts 230 boats.

The preferred criminal path

The first 22 hulls were digitally scanned by their owner. A deviation of only three tenths could be measured. For example, a 0.12 degree offset to starboard was found on the "worst" keel. The worst foil position and 5/10th of a millimeter to starboard. Each foil weighs 36.5 kg and there is a 420 g difference between the heaviest and the lightest. The foil tip, once out of its well, falls within a space of less than 10 mm for the 60 boats. In most cases the assembly accuracy is lower than the measurement accuracy. We're heading towards a criminal lead "We are heading towards a criminal trail,"on the images of the video surveillance cameras we clearly see two men wearing hoods setting fire before leaving again According to Mathieu Morin, president of the Chambre syndicale des professionnels du nautisme à la métropole de Marseille, still in La Provence, Batotel had recently been the subject of threats. on the images of the video surveillance cameras we clearly see two men wearing hoods setting fire before leaving. "Investigators have video surveillance elements suggesting external intervention"on the images of the video surveillance cameras we clearly see two men wearing hoods setting fire before leaving again According to Mathieu Morin, president of the Chambre syndicale des professionnels du nautisme à la métropole de Marseille, still in La Provence, Batotel had recently been the subject of threats.

Firefighters fight the fire at the dry port of Batotel (BMPM credits)

A high fire risk for dry ports

Fire, both in port and while boating, is the most significant risk to a recreational boat. Beyond the incident, the Marseille incident, fortunately quickly brought under control in a city equipped with professional firefighters, could have had more serious consequences in less equipped areas. It illustrates the risk inherent in dry ports that concentrate in close proximity to ships, full fuel tanks and variable maintenance. On the other hand, accessibility may be better than at the end of a marina's dock. The accident is a sad reminder of the need for vigilance on the part of managers of dry ports and wintering sites.

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