Powerful fireboat christened at Foss Maritime

Powerful fireboat christened at Foss Maritime Robert Allan Ltd.

MAY 15, 2014—The first of two highly advanced and powerful 108-foot-long fireboats under construction for the Port of Long Beach, CA, was recently dedicated at Foss Maritime's Seattle Shipyard.

Named Fireboat 20, the fireboat was designed by renowned naval architectural firm Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is set for delivery to Long Beach, CA, this summer. 

Like its sister vessel under construction at Foss, Fireboat 20 will have an overall length of 108 feet, a beam of 35 feet and a draft of 14 feet. Each fireboat will be equipped with two Voith Schneider Propellers, VSP 26GII/165 AE45. The relatively short VSP blade length of 5.4 feet makes it possible for the fireboats to enter shallow areas of the port without compromising maneuvering safety, therefore allowing them to support onshore firefighting. The boats will have an operating speed of 13 knots.

For each fireboat, Voith also supplied two 866 DTL Voith turbo couplings as well as a twin control stand unit. Its positioning in the wheelhouse is such that the captain and crew benefit from a 360 degree panoramic view. Two 1,350 kW Caterpillar 3512C diesel engines will drive the VSP. 

Two of the four fire pumps are driven by Caterpillar diesel engines that supply propulsion power to the VSP. When fighting a fire, the VSP propulsion power is limited to about 25 percent; the remaining 75 percent is available to the fire pumps as pumping power. This allows the fireboats to be positioned fuel-efficiently using the VSP while at the same time increasing the vessels' pumping power without requiring additional engines. As the VSP pitch can be altered, the fireboats can operate efficiently and safely under all operating conditions.

The fireboat was christened by Colleen Espino, wife of Xavier Espino, Battalion Chief of the Long Beach Fire Department. Others in attendance at the christening included Gary Faber, Foss Senior Vice President, Peter Forsythe, Port of Long Beach Deputy Chief Harbor Engineer, and Mike Magill, Vice President of Foss' Technical Services. The fireboat was blessed by the Rev. David Marshall of St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church of Shoreline.

Each of the boats will be fitted with a total of 10 powerful water monitors, providing them with the ability to throw more than 41,000 gallons of water per minute at a fire. The water streams can reach a height of up to 236 feet and a distance of up to 580 feet. As containerships continue to get larger and larger—longer than four football fields in length and as high as small office buildings—modern fireboats become critical assets in fighting potential fires at ports such as Long Beach.

Fireboat 20 and its sister are replacements for two older fireboats, the Liberty and Challenger. 

The second fireboat for the Port of Long Beach will be delivered by Foss Maritime in late 2014 or early 2015.