Robert Allan develops smaller version of crewless fireboat

4 Fire

The following is text of a news release from Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL):

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — Explosion and toxic smoke risks from container and petrochemical fires in ports can threaten lives and shut down port operations. Rapid response, close-in firefighting capability is critical to managing these threats. A new 52-foot uncrewed firefighting vessel in Robert Allan Ltd.'s RALamander series is designed to attack fires quickly and powerfully in busy ports without risking crews.

With high speed capability and pumping capacity rivaling larger fireboats, RALamander 1600 can be brought into action quickly with water and foam to suppress a fire and establish a defensive line while fire crews remain safely outside the danger zone. Like its larger RALamander 2000 cousin, it can be operated from another vessel of opportunity or from a shore-based position. Sophisticated automatic piloting and station-keeping features leave the operator free to focus on firefighting. Without crew on board, RALamander can be positioned closer to a fire than possible with conventional fireboats, not only to combat the fire effectively but also to relay video and thermal imaging information on the fire origin to incident commanders in real time.

A helm station on board makes it possible to drive RALamander 1600 to an incident under direct manual control in busy waterways. Once on scene, the operator can transfer to shore or another vessel to conduct remote operations using a portable controller or shore-based console. This versatility means that RALamander 1600 can be operated in different ways to respond effectively to the port fire emergency. If necessary, control can be switched between multiple operators with different vantage points on the incident.

With self-rescue arrangements on both sides, RALamander 1600 can be sent into dangerous situations to serve as a life raft where an explosive or toxic environment prevents conventional rescue craft from reaching people in the water. With waterjet propulsion, there is no exposed propeller to harm people or marine life. The twin jet arrangement gives precise steering control and side-stepping capability.

For those responsible for port safety, RALamander 1600 is a versatile and cost-effective solution for scaling up fire fighting capability and reducing response time. The experience of present port firefighting crews can be brought to bear in directing operations with less risk to personal safety. RALamander 1600 can work alongside other fire-fighting vessels or can be operated on its own.

By Professional Mariner Staff