Update on Polina Star III, Southampton, 08 December 2015
Since the tragic loss of Polina Star III – Oyster 825-02 - in early July, Oyster has worked with a team of independent experts to review the design and construction of the Oyster 825. Since the recovery of Polina Star III from the seabed recently we have also worked with the various representatives of the Owner’s insurance Company and other stakeholders. The objective of this work was to establish beyond doubt how and why the loss occurred, the first of its kind in Oyster’s long history. We are aware of the criticism in some quarters of our preference not to add to the speculation of what went wrong and to wait for the independent investigation to reach a conclusion; it is also true to say that in cases of this sort a company is also very much restrained from detailed comment by insurance and legal interests.
We believe however, that our fundamental and overriding priority must be to ensure the absolute safety of all our yachts and just as important to give owners and future owners every possible confidence that they are sailing in complete safety. For this reason we believe it would be unreasonable for us to delay any longer in sharing our findings of our investigations to date.
First, it is important to note that the Oyster 825 design took into account Classification Society Rules and other standards and has been independently verified.
Secondly, our inspection of the other 825s (not including Polina Star III) highlighted a possible weakness in the process used to build the inner structure of those vessels. This process has not been used on any other Oyster Yacht built over the last ~40 years and will not be used again.
The only way to check the outcome of the process is by invasive examination taking significant parts of the structure apart. This has been done on Oyster 825-01 and 03 and following these investigations the structure has been rebuilt and, to be prudent, has been reinforced. Oyster 825-04 was only partially built so we were able to verify its structure before launch. The process for Oyster 825-05 onwards has reverted to well-proven methods used on the rest of the Oyster fleet of more than 800 yachts.
Regrettably, the challenging salvage operations for Polina Star III was such that much of the structure was damaged during the recovery of the yacht and hence at this stage we are not able to confirm whether this possible weakness is related to the loss of the vessel. We will continue to work with the Owner and his representatives as the investigations progress.
Oyster Marine hopes and trusts that release of these findings - relating only to yachts of the 825 Class - will allay any fears that may exist in relation to safety and security and confirms above all that the Company’s fundamental priority is the safety of the sailing experience on each and every one of the yachts it launches. Also that its inspection processes will meet the exacting standards required to meet this commitment.
Oyster Marine takes this opportunity to apologise to owners for any concerns they may have had regarding safety issues and the length of time taken to release these internal findings and thanks them for their patience and understanding.
We are delighted that the owners and crew of both Oyster 825-03 and 04 have demonstrated their continued confidence in their yachts and in Oyster and have just completed fast and successful passages in the 2015 ARC.