Polar Bear, a steel-hulled expedition trawler launched by Citadel Yachts in 2011, caught fire while dry-docked in Chula Vista Marina Thursday morning.
Initial reports indicate the blaze, which lasted several hours, began around 9:15 a.m. and is being blamed on faulty welding while undergoing routine maintenance at the Marine Group Boat Work shipyard. Though the cause is not confirmed, Police did uphold that there was a welder aboard when the fire started. Polar Bear had close to 3000 gallons of fuel aboard just prior to the incident.
The yacht presented a unique challenge for firefighters, as Citadel designed the yacht with the intent to keep water out. Eye-witnesses report that at one point police opened fire on the yacht with high-powered rifles in an attempt to break the windows to let more water onto the fire.
The 102-foot expedition yacht was built built in steel and aluminium for long range cruising. The interior layout accommodated up to 10 guests and had crew quarters for four members. Polar Bear was powered by twin 685hp Caterpillar C-18B engines giving a top speed of 12.5 knots, and cruising speed of 10 knots and a range in excess of 5,000 nautical miles.
The yacht is considered completely destroyed.