$292M Fireboat commissioned
― GFS firefighting capabilities tremendously enhanced
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, October 17, 2019
The firefighting capabilities of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) has been tremendously enhanced with the addition of a $292M Fireboat called the ‘Protector’. The modernised boat was commissioned by Minister of Public Security, Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan at the Transport and Harbours Stelling at Water Street.
Minister Ramjattan said that the need for a necessary asset on Guyana’s waterfronts can never be overemphasised. He reminded that the last time the Guyana Fire Service owned such a vessel was in the period 1977 to 1978. The investment, the minister said, is indicative of the government’s commitment to safety and wellbeing of all Guyana.
“This very vulnerable waterfront in port Georgetown with its massive wharves and warehouses and cargo handling facilities that process billions of dollars of shipping goods, stock and fuel, needs to be protected. This government continues to invest in the acquisition of assets for that kind of protection,” he stated.
Additionally, Minister Ramjattan highlighted that over the years, the government has invested heavily in the sector. He pointed to the acquisition of 10 water tenders, five ambulances and one aircraft firefighting rescue vehicle. This year alone accounted for $505M invested to improve the capacity of the service.
Chief Fire Officer, Marlon Gentle said ‘Protector’ is a boat which will ease the burden of the Fire Service. Gentle noted that over the years, the Fire Service has sought ways in which it can protect the waterfronts by retrofitting boats to fill the gap which proved futile.
He said that the boat was built from scratch, designed specially to work in Guyana’s rivers. Training was also provided to firefighters to effectively operate the boat.
“Over 30 years we have been without a [fire]boat so we would have had no expertise within the fire service even though they [firefighters] had exposure to marine firefighting training. To operate a boat to fight the fires, we needed to have a skilled set of firefighters. The GDF Coast Guard came on board and in two years, through all the training cycles we were able to train 17 persons who can become the nucleus,” the Chief Fire Officer stated.
Some of the functions of the fireboat include protecting shoreline installation from fires, support shore base fire suppression operations by supplying large volumes of water to land base firefighting units, water rescues and ambulance services and to support environmental stability operations in case of spills and environmental cleanup after chemical release incidents.
The vessel was constructed by Angloco Limited, a company based in the United Kingdom and is capable of pumping over 5,000 gallons of water per minute.