| Vigilance, Long Beach’s newest hi-tech fire boat
Photo/Port of Long Beach
11-13-2017 - PORT OF LONG BEACH
A second new fireboat was officially brought into service November 13 at the Port of Long Beach, completing a program to bolster waterborne safety at one of the world’s busiest container ports.
Vigilance was dedicated in a dockside ceremony for the late Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Dr. John Kashiwabara, a Korean War veteran who served as a commissioner from 1996-2002 and was the first Japanese American named to the board. He died in 2010.
Vigilance joins Protector, dedicated in 2016. The new fireboats replace Challenger and Liberty, which began service in the late 1980s and were designed in an era of vessels carrying 4,500 containers. Vessels of 14,000-TEU capacity are now regular callers at Long Beach. The largest vessel to call Long Beach is the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin.
Vigilance and Protector are each equipped with 10 water cannons capable of extinguishing fires in the harbor or on nearby land with more than 41,000 gallons per minute — four times the output of the previous fireboats. They can shoot water the length of two football fields, and higher than a 20-story building – high and far enough to quell fires on the largest container ships and oil tankers.
Other emergency response features include medical treatment facilities, a command information center, boom deployment to contain spills, and an onboard crane. The boats can also respond to chemical, biological and nuclear threats.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency provided an $18.5 million grant toward the cost of the first of the two fireboats, which together cost $51.6 million to construct.
The fireboats and fireboat stations are operated by the Long Beach Fire Department. The port – which is the city’s Harbor Department – reimburses the Fire Department for fire protection services and supplies the equipment such as the boats and the stations.
"A capable fleet of fireboats that bring the best modern technology has to offer is essential in minimizing loss and maximizing business continuity for the Port," said Long Beach Fire Chief Mike DuRee. "These amazing vessels will help us better serve the Port of Long Beach."