Singapore launches the ‘world’s largest’ firefighting ship

Red Sailfish. Credit: Singapore Civil Defence Force

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has launched Red Sailfish, which has been reported as the world’s largest and most powerful firefighting vessel.

Built by local shipbuilder ST Engineering Marine, Red Sailfish is equipped with an external firefighting (FiFi) Class 3 system, with a total output of 240,000 litres per minute, equivalent to filling an Olympic-size swimming pool in about 10.5 minutes.

Equipped with a dynamic positioning system, Red Sailfish automatically maintains bearing on its own, while the crew operates the fire monitors. This reduces the crew’s workload and increases precision and effectiveness in operations.

The capabilities and features of Red Sailfish include:
• 12 water and foam monitors that provide 360 degrees firefighting coverage
• Chemical-Biological-Radiological (CBR) protection system
• On-board hazardous materials (HazMat) detection capabilities
• Six automated decontamination shower cubicles
• A launch and recovery system to deploy rigid hull inflatable boats
• Seaborne electro-optics systems (SEOS) with thermal imaging capabilities
• A command room equipped with a 4G booster and video streaming system.

Besides Red Sailfish, a marine rescue vessel, Red Dolphin, and a heavy rescue vessel, Red Manta, both built by another local shipbuilder, Penguin International, were also commissioned on 20 August.

With a CBR filtration system, decontamination cubicles, and positive pressured cabins, Red Dolphin can respond to marine CBR incidents as well as support firefighting and rescue operations.

Red Manta, which can carry up to 300 passengers, has a medical treatment room and decontamination chambers, and it will be used as a tactical headquarters for major marine incidents.

The commander of SCDF’s marine division Assistant Commissioner Derek Tan told Safety at Sea, “Special CBR systems such as safe air protected citadels and chemical warfare agent (CWA) filtration systems also allow our vessels to operate effectively within chemically contaminated environments while keeping our responders safe.

“With their state-of-the-art and specialised functions, these three heavy firefighting and rescue vessels will allow SCDF to complete our range of maritime capabilities for the safeguarding of our port to be brought to the next level.”

Since April 2012, when the SCDF took over marine firefighting operations from Maritime and Port Authority Of Singapore, its marine division has been enhancing its capabilities, through training marine firefighters and expanding its fleet of firefighting vessels.

Speaking at the launch of Red Sailfish, Home Affairs and Law Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam noted the journey of the SCDF’s marine division over the years.

The minister said, “SCDF has been on a journey – expanded its capabilities, trained more marine firefighters, increased the number of vessels, and moved more into integrated technology.

“And the threats are multiplying. Today, we have the possibility of chemical, biological, and radiological incidents. Terrorism, of course, the likelihood of mass casualties and this means planning for mass evacuation of crew and passengers. And SCDF has been building up its capabilities to deal with all of these.”