Technology: Remote controlled fire fighting vessel design unveiled in Canada
Ship fires in ports could be extinguished rapidly, without risk to life, by a fleet of unmanned fire fighting vessels. Canadian Naval Architects and Marine Engineering company, Robert Allan, has designed an unmanned vessel for tackling port fires. It can be controlled from shore or a command ship to combat fires on quaysides or ships in harbours. RALamander 1600 was designed for rapid response and close-in fire fighting enabling operators to extinguish flames while minimising risks to humans. This design comes on the heels of successful trials of an autonomous vessel reacting to a harbour emergency in the US. Those tests were organised by the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) to validate remote control of a Marine Spill Response Corp vessel to recover spilled oil in ports.
RALamander 1600 is 16-m long with a hull for high speed and pumping capacity rivalling larger fireboats. Robert Allan said this vessel could “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.”
It has automatic piloting and station-keeping features enabling operators to position RALamander closer to a fire than possible with conventional fireboats.
It can be equipped with video and thermal imaging devices to relay information on the fire origin to incident commanders in real-time.
Robert Allan included a helm station in the design for direct manual control of a RALamander 1600 vessel in busy waterways. “Once on the scene, the operator can transfer to shore or another vessel to conduct remote operations using a portable controller or shore-based console,” said Robert Allan.
“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.”
A fleet of RALamander vessels could tackle large ship fires in ports remotely. Vessels could also be used as lifeboats to save people if explosion and fire are a high risk.
RALamander 1600 was designed with twin waterjet propulsion for precise steering control and side-stepping capabilities.
Robert Allan has previously teamed up with remote control technology provider Kongsberg Maritime to design a RALamander vessel for unmanned fire-fighting. This was presented at Riviera Maritime Media’s Offshore Support Journal Conference in London in 2018.
Source: Riviera MM