The popular liveaboard Hurricane, part of the Tornado Marine Fleet, caught fire in the Egyptian Red Sea this morning (11 June) and, despite initial indications that all guests and crew had been safely evacuated, it has since been confirmed that three British guests remain missing.
Twelve other British divers were among 24 people rescued unhurt from the boat, which had been due back in Marsa Alam today after its last diving stop at Elphinstone Reef.
The 24 rescued included all 10 crew and two dive-guides. Initial reports have suggested that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the engine-room, according to the Red Sea Governorate, which says that the public prosecutor’s office is investigating the incident.
The liveaboard is represented in the UK by tour operator Scuba Travel. “At approximately 0630 hours, a fire broke out on the dive ship Hurricane when conducting a dive-briefing off the Elphinstone Reef,“ it has stated. “Our first priority is the safety of our guests and our team is working with the local authorities and our specialist advisers to assist our guests in this situation.
“There were 15 diving-qualified guests on the seven-day tour – all British nationals. Some 12 guests were taken by RIB to a nearby boat; however, three of the guests are currently missing.
“We have notified the appropriate channels including the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office and the local authorities are currently conducting a full enquiry into the fire, with the assistance of the guests and crew-members.
“More information will follow later once we have seen to the well-being of all our guests and assisted any first responders from the Egyptian authorities.”
Mobile phone footage taken from a nearby liveaboard emerged online this morning, showing thick smoke pouring from the interior of the vessel and being blown astern before flames took hold rapidly. At least four RIBs could be seen helping to take people off towards the bow of the boat.
Hurricane is a 36m steel-hulled liveaboard built to carry up to 22 guests on southern Egyptian Red Sea itineraries out of Marsa Alam and Hurghada.
The vessel has a long history and the distinction of having won the Diver Liveaboard of the Year Award – voted for by the magazine’s readers – for four years in a row from 2016 to 2019, before the Covid pandemic ended the awards.
The boat had been due to depart on a seven-night trip again tomorrow. Tornado Marine Fleet has told Divernet that it is bringing the boat back to the marina “under authority supervision”, and will issue an update once those authorities have completed their investigations.