Published: 20 August 2019
Commissioner Eric Yap,
Home Team Colleagues,
1. Let me first extend a warm welcome to our international guests who are attending the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management tomorrow, and also representatives from various foreign fire departments. Thank you for accepting our invitation to witness today’s commissioning.
2. We would like to express our special appreciation to the Hong Kong Fire Services Department as well as the Fire Department of the City of New York. You have generously contributed your knowledge and your experience in marine operations with SCDF.
3. You saw from the video, that seven years ago, in 2012, SCDF took over marine firefighting operations from the Maritime and Port Authority. Since then, SCDF has been on a journey - expanded its capabilities, trained more marine fire-fighters, increased the number of vessels and moved more into integrated technology.
4. In 2013, one year after SCDF took over from primarily being a land-based rescue force to this, there was a huge fire at Tanoto Shipyard near Jurong Island. The fire engulfed four tugboats, one of which sank. The operation took seven hours and four people were rescued from the blaze.
5. In July last year, a large container vessel off the eastern anchorage caught fire. It was a five-hour long operation. Just to name a couple of examples.
6. And the threats are multiplying. Today, we have the possibility of chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) 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 this.
7. Another sector, the cruise industry. The cruise ships have been coming in. Huge capacity, thousands of passengers. We are also the second largest container port in the world. And when the Tuas Mega Port is ready, and the first phase of operations commence in two years, it could become the world’s largest container port
when fully operational.
8. So the cruise industry; the number of container ships that are coming through the port – there is huge throughput and investments and we are one of the busiest waterways in the world.
JOURNEY OF MARINE DIVISION
9. When SCDF started the Marine Division, it had two vessels. In 2013, it set up a second marine fire station – the Brani Marine Fire Station.
10. In 2015, SCDF started training its own officers to run and manage the ships. And the Police Coast Guard gave tremendous support.
11. Two years ago, SCDF commissioned the first Rapid Response Fire Vessels (RFVs). These vessels can respond to incidents at shallow depths and they have a top speed of 40 knots, which is 74 kilometres per hour. And that is pretty fast on water.
12. In 2017 as well, the Loyang Marine Fire Post was set up to improve coverage in the eastern part of Singapore. So within 45 minutes, we can respond to incidents in the waters in most parts of Singapore. In 2020 and 2021 respectively, we will see the new Gul Marine Fire Post and Punggol Marine Outpost start operations and that would help us respond to incidents in outlying islands fast.
13. Coming to today, it is a very big day for SCDF and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) - a very important milestone, with three state-of-the-art vessels to be commissioned.
Marine Rescue Vessel – Red Dolphin
14. The first, is the Marine Rescue Vessel (MRV), which we call the Red Dolphin. It has a CBR filtration system, decontamination cubicles and positive-pressure cabins. The MRV will be the primary vessel for major incidents. It is capable of responding to marine CBR incidents and conducting firefighting and rescue operations.
Heavy Rescue Vessel – Red Manta
15. Second, the Heavy Rescue Vessel (HRV), also known as the Red Manta which you saw in the video, with a carrying capacity of 300 passengers. It has got a medical treatment room and decontamination chamber. It can respond to mass casualty incidents, and will also be used as SCDF’s marine tactical HQ for major incidents. It is the first catamaran vessel in SCDF and offers very high stability in vessel-to-vessel operations.
Heavy Fire Vessel – Red Sailfish
16. And third, the Red Sailfish –the Heavy Fire Vessel (HFV). This in particular, was extensively researched and developed by SCDF’s Marine Division. They researched and worked with the builder on the requirements that they wanted to develop. It is the largest and most powerful firefighting vessel in the world today. It has a FiFi Class 3 external firefighting system, 12 fire monitors and a total output of 240,000 litres per minute. This is equivalent to filling an Olympic-size swimming pool in about ten and a half minutes.
17. The HFV also comes marine CBR ready, with a CBR filtration system, positive-pressure rooms and an additional command room. It is the first firefighting vessel in the world which is equipped with a unique Dynamic Positioning System. This allows the vessel to automatically maintain bearing on its own, while the crew operates the fire monitors. So it significantly reduces the crew’s workload and increases precision and accuracy in operations.
18. SCDF Marine Division’s excellent performance and development in a very short seven years of its history has really only been possible because of the tremendous commitment that has been put in by SCDF officers. Their hard work and innovativeness were recognised recently - they won “The Exemplary Innovator Award” at the Public Sector Transformation Awards Ceremony.
19. I congratulate the SCDF Marine Division, its men and women, for your achievements, and also for today’s commissioning of the three new vessels. We look forward to more of such developments.
20. Thank you.