Oyster Marine issues an official statement on the loss of a 90ft Oyster which sank with five crew on board off the Spanish coast

An Oyster yacht that sank off the coast of Spain in July may have foundered following a hull failure. Polina Star III was a 90ft extended version of the Oyster 825. She sank on 4 July and her five crew, two Italians and three Russians, were rescued by the Spanish coastguard.

It is not yet clear if the yacht hit something in the water before sinking, but the loss is described as the result of ‘an incident that compromised the integrity of the moulded hull on 3 July’ before the yacht sank the following day. According to David Tydeman, CEO of Oyster Marine “the possibilities of contact have not been ruled out.”

Sources report that the crew were picked up from a liferaft and taken aboard a Spanish fishing vessel, Isabel y Andrés. The crew were safely taken to the port of San Pedro del Pinatar, in Murcia.

Unconfirmed reports on social media suggest that the yacht may have capsized before sinking.

Oyster Marine has issued a statement on the loss, saying that it is ‘the first of its kind in the company’s 42-year history.’ A statement by David Tydeman says the company is treating the sinking with ‘the utmost seriousness and [has] commenced an investigation to establish the cause.

‘Diving inspections of the hull on the seabed have been undertaken and through this the possibility of impact with an underwater object propagating structural failure has not been ruled out. Recovery of the vessel will facilitate further detailed investigation.’

Tydeman adds: ‘Oyster used industry standard Classification Society rules for the design of the vessel and the calculations have been analysed by an independent expert in composite construction. He has verified that the design, which incorporates an internal structure not used in any other Oyster yachts, has appropriate safety factors.

‘Another expert in composites has been engaged to provide a finite element analysis, which is being supported by ultrasonic tests and inspections of mouldings of the other Oyster 825s. Oyster is also in discussion with another Classification Society for an overall review of the design and the processes being used now to establish cause and a senior composite surveyor, recently retired from Lloyds Register, will assist in the verification process.

‘Oyster has no reason to believe that any other yachts in the range are in any way at risk. The structures and mouldings of the other Oyster 825s (two currently on the water and three in build) are being investigated to ensure that these yachts are safe, seaworthy and built to the exacting design standards that Oyster adopts.’

Spanish authorities have asked for the wreck to be removed and the insurers are said to be planning to refloat and salvage the yacht.