Firefighting at Sea
20 Aug 2019

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioned three new vessels – the Heavy Fire Vessel, the Heavy Rescue Vessel and the Marine Rescue Vessel – on 20 August 2019, thereby enhancing its marine firefighting capability. DSTA was the overall programme manager for all three vessels.

Speaking at the ceremony, Guest of Honour and Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K. Shanmugam highlighted the importance of enhancing Singapore’s maritime response as Singapore is already home to one of the world’s busiest ports. In addition, the growing cruise industry and the start of Tuas Mega Port’s first phase of operations in 2021 are likely to add even more traffic to our nation’s busy waterways.

Each of the three vessels has a different role to play. The Heavy Fire Vessel (HFV), the Red Sailfish, is the largest and most powerful firefighting vessel in the world. It features an external firefighting Class 3 system, which enables a total output of 240,000 litres per minute. The HFV’s Dynamic Positioning system also allows it to automatically maintain its position on its own, reducing the crew’s workload and increases precision and accuracy in operations.

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The Heavy Rescue Vessel (HRV), the Red Manta, is meant primarily for rescue operations. Able to carry up to 300 passengers, the HRV is fitted with a medical treatment room and decontamination chambers, and will be used as SCDF’s marine tactical headquarters for major incidents. It is SCDF’s first catamaran (twin-hulled) vessel, offering high stability during vessel-to-vessel operations out in the open sea.

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The smallest but most versatile of the three is the Marine Rescue Vessel, also named Red Dolphin, which will be the primary vessel for major incidents. Equipped with a chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) filtration system, decontamination cubicles and positive-pressure cabins, it is capable of responding to marine CBR incidents and conducting firefighting and rescue operations.

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As the programme manager, DSTA worked closely with SCDF from the contracting to designing phase, as well as the vessels’ delivery. The team paid close attention to SCDF’s requirements to ensure that the vessels would meet their needs and strengthen their firefighting capabilities holistically. This included reviewing and scrutinising test procedures information and results provided by the original equipment manufacturer to ascertain the MRV’s CBR functionality, and also engaging the users’ CBR team actively to ensure that the results met their requirements.

With the experience, the team went on to design the HFV’s unique CBR protection system, which allows SCDF to conduct mitigation, monitoring and rescue operations in marine HazMat incidents. For the HRV, the team incorporated a video wall to enable the display of different types of information at the same time to facilitate decision-making to facilitate the sharing of information on the go, thereby ensuring that it could serve as an effective command post during incidents or emergencies.

The team harmonised the three vessels’ design requirements and worked towards a common Ship Control Monitoring System and general outfitting across all three vessels, allowing SCDF to cross-operate the vessels seamlessly and reducing training load.

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