A $292 million boat was on Thursday commissioned and handed over to the Guyana Fire Service (GFS).
The vessel was constructed by UK-based company Angloco Limited and it is capable of pumping 5,000 gallons of water per minute.
The last time the Fire Service owned such a vessel was in the period 1977 to 1978, according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
Chief Fire Officer, Marlon Gentle said the boat, named ‘Protector’, will ease the burden of the Fire Service. He 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.
“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.