NEW YORK, NY – The FDNY has a new vessel that makes others look obsolete and already has an impressive reputation!
The New York Fire Department has a new $27 million fireboat that is already being billed as the most technically advanced in the world and it will help bolster counterterrorism at the city’s ports. The new vessel, named the Three Forty Three for the number of fire department members who died in the Sept. 11 attack, was officially commissioned Wednesday evening at a Fleet Week ceremony. The bow and stern were constructed using steel from the World Trade Center.
The red, white and black ship will be stationed at Marine 1 on the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan, replacing the 50-year-old John D. McKean. The Three Forty Three is more powerful that two of the old fireboats combined, FDNY chief James Dalton said.
The new fireboat has some impressive stats: It’s 140 feet long, weighs 500 tons and can pump nearly 50,000 gallons of water per minute from four engines. An air-filtering system keeps passengers safe from 98 percent of hazardous chemicals. It was developed with the assistance of the U.S. Navy Engineers and paid for with grants from the federal Homeland Security Department and the city.
The FDNY Marine Fleet is responsible for guarding more than 450 miles of coastline and harbors and has been in existence for a century. But Today’s concerns of terrorist attacks meant the department had to rethink how to use the boats.
“We had to think about the threats that are going to affect New York City and the region for the next 50 years,” Dalton said.
Powerful water cannons stationed around the ship are remotely controlled by joysticks and computers set up in the top deck where the pilot and engineers sit. Video screens nestled between old-time mariner’s clocks monitor the area around the boat, and infrared cameras can detect suspicious activity from afar and send images to headquarters, the NYPD and the U.S. Coast Guard, Dalton said.
“We’re able to do so much more, even just with the deck space. We can fit so many more people … in case we’re ever in that same situation as the plane again,” Marine Company Captain Richard Johnson said, referring to the US Airways flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River last January.