Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

September 12, 2009

Fireboat named for FDNY heroes killed on 9/11


A fireboat launched September 11, 2009 at Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City, Fla. is named the Three Forty Three in honor of the 343 New York City firefighters killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The Three Forty Three is expected to arrive in New York City in December and will be assigned to Marine 1, stationed on the Hudson River in Manhattan, replacing the 50-year-old John D. McKean.

A second ship currently under construction, Fire Fighter II, will eventually replace the 50-year-old Fire Fighter, and will be assigned to Marine 9 on Staten Island. Both fireboats were funded, in large part, by over $40 million dollars in grants from the Department of Homeland Security. Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Florida was awarded the contract for detailed design and construction of the ships on December 28, 2007.

The fireboat's original design is from naval architectural firm Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C.

"On September 11th, we all saw how important fireboats are to New York City. The FDNY Marine Division rescued and transported hundreds of citizens and provided the only supply of water to battle the fires at the World Trade Center for many days," said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "The Three Forty Three will significantly improve our ability to respond to emergencies in and around New York Harbor, while also reminding us all of the incredible sacrifices so many of our members made eight years ago."

The new 140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million dollar boat will be the country's largest fireboat with a maximum speed of 18 knots. The Three Forty Three will provide the FDNY with the latest technology available, including the capability of pumping 50,000 gallons of water per minute; nearly 30,000 gallons more than its predecessor.

The Three Forty Three has been designed, with the assistance of U.S. Navy engineers from the U.S. military's Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command, to detect and protect firefighters from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. The ship contains a pressurized area that filters the air supply using special charcoal and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, allowing the crew members to operate when needed in hostile environments. Decontamination and first aid can be handled aboard the ship as well by means of a de-con shower area that leads to a triage and first-aid station.

Other innovative designs make this ship extremely useful to the FDNY. The Three Forty Three features a forward ballast tank which lowers the boat in the water to match its deck with larger ferries that operate in the waters around New York City. This feature will allow the fireboat to safely transfer and evacuate people in an emergency. The ship's pilot house is configured to allow the Captain a 360-degree view of an operation, which can assist with maneuvering the vessel in tight quarters. In addition, the Three Forty Three has a command and control area where the ship's officers will be able to monitor and direct fire operations with the aid of remote cameras and state-of-the-art communication equipment.

The FDNY Marine Fleet consists of more than 30 vessels responsible for over 450 miles of coastline and harbors and has protected New York City residents for 134 years.

Length, overall 140 ft (excluding fenders)

Length, waterline 130 ft

Beam, molded 36 ft

Depth, molded 16 ft (midship, deck edge)

Draft (maximum) 9 ft

Air draft design loaded waterline to highest point 39 ft (maximum)

Main Engines MTU 4 x 2000 HP (total 8,000 HP)

Propellers and Reduction Gears Hundested 4 X Variable Pitch Propellers

Fuel oil 6,850 US gallons (trial condition), 9,350 US gallons (maximum capacity)

Fresh water capacity 1,000 US gallons

Foam concentrate 3,600 US gallons (total)

Sewage holding tank 100 US gallons

Oily water 120 US gallons

Sludge 60 US gallons

Decon wastewater tank 100 US gallons

Calm water trial speed - 20 mph at fully loaded condition operating at 100% vessel power rating (8,000 hp) and 15% sea margin.

Design seastate - 6 ft significant wave height

Pumping capacity - 20,000 gpm on two engines as fire-fighting ship and 50,000 gpm on four engines as pumping station

Monitor throw - 700 ft from midships

Operating crew - seven (7)

Fire-fighters - 27 in transit

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