Port of Houston christens new fireboat

SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 — The Port of Houston Authority has formally welcomed the first of a new fleet of high-performance emergency response vessels. The new vessel was christened in festivities that included a colorful spray of water jets over vessels in the Houston Ship Channel.

Built by Kingston, Ontario, shipbuilder Metal Craft Marine, the vessel is first of three high performance fireboats that will be used to help protect facilities along the Houston Ship Channel, a critically important waterway that is home to the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. The fireboats will enhance firefighters' ability to save lives and property along the 25-mile-long Port of Houston.

PHA Fire Chief William Buck began the formal program, which included a tribute to firefighters who lost their lives in New York City after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Also in attendance of a crowd of about 100, were Port Commissioner Steve Phelps, Executive Director Len Waterworth, and many of the area's first responders, as well as many area governmental representatives.

The new emergency response vessel, a Firestorm 70 model, is a state-of-the-art command center and high-speed response vessel. The vessel was purchased with awards from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Port Security Grant Program as well as funding from the Port Authority.

The vessel has significant enhancements, including hazmat capabilities and infrared sonar, enabling the crew to see the bottom of the Houston Ship Channel.

Technical particulars of the vessel were given in this earlier story.