Unmanned Firefighting Boats May Increase Safety

When a boat catches fire, firefighters have to take to the high seas to fight the blaze. These firefighters drive their boats alongside the boat on fire, ready to release torrents of water to combat the flames. When the boat operators can get in position, fighting the fire is particularly straightforward; however, there are some fires where firefighters are unable to get close due to toxic fumes. When this happens, the firefighters have to wait for the threat to pass, or they are entirely unable to fight the fire due to the danger. To combat this problem, a naval architecture firm collaborated with an international marine technology specialist to reveal the RALamander 2000.

The RALamander 2000

The RALamander 2000 is a boat prototype that fights fires without a human crew. Vancouver-based company Robert Allan and marine technology specialist Kongsberg Maritime created the RALamander 2000 to keep first responders safe. The boat is remotely operated by a first responder (with the possibility of automation in the future). The remote operator sends instructions to the RALamander 2000 through a high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless link created by Kongsberg Maritime.

Some of the features of the RALamander 2000 include:

  • Three water cannons used to fight fires.
  • Retractable mast to position one of the cannons high into the air, allowing the operator to shoot a stream of water onto large ships.
  • “Line protection” where the ship moves in a direct line to direct protective spray onto shore structures.
  • A Grapnel Emergency Towing (GET) system that can pull a burning vessel away.

The Importance of the RALamander 2000

The companies created this boat because boat fires are known to have containers, petrochemicals, and shore-side structures that release toxic smoke when engulfed in flames; additionally, other materials in boat fires have a chance to explode when burning. If a boat or sea structure holds poisonous or explosive risks, firefighters find themselves in a catch-22. The vessel or structure need firefighters to prevent further damages, but the firefighters cannot approach because it could be deadly. The result, boat fires go untouched because firefighter personnel has to “count their losses” by not endangering themselves.

The RALamander 2000 is the solution.

Since the vessel is unmanned, the boat can enter fire zones that pose risks to firefighters. These vessels do not need to hear about the materials on the boat, shaving minutes of time in the firefighting process. Assessment of a situation is unnecessary, which means firefighting can start as soon as the boat reaches the scene. Additionally, the RALamander 2000 can take angles or get close to a blaze that would injure or kill humans. The boat can also attack fires from a short distance for maximum firefighting potency. Responses to boat fires will be faster and more potent with the RALamander 2000.

The RALamander 2000 Cannot Prevent Fires

Although the remote-operated firefighting boat will increase maritime safety overall, the ship cannot prevent fires. Oil rig fires and other boat accidents will happen—and, when they do, people will get hurt. If you or a loved one are injured in an offshore fire, you should contact an experienced maritime lawyer right away. Arnold & Itkin can listen to your story to see if you qualify for a Jones Act claim. Call (888) 346-5024 to get answers for your burn injuries.

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