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FDNY's $27 million fireboats beset by glitches, in need of repairs, sidelined from duty

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FDNY's $27 million fireboats beset by glitches, in need of repairs, sidelined from duty

BY Jonathan Lemire

NY DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

 

Tuesday, May 10th 2011

 

"The FDNY's state-of-the-art $27 million fireboat is working out a boatload of frustrating kinks.

 

The gleaming ship, named the 343, debuted to great fanfare last Sept. 11, with plans of revolutionizing the way the FDNY responds to emergencies on the city's waterways - including rescues, fires and terror attacks.

 

It hasn't quite worked out that way. The boat has been beset by technical difficulties, and has suffered from malfunctioning water pumps, intercom system and bow camera. The ship just spent two weeks at a Connecticut dry dock, the Daily News has learned.

 

The Fire Department says the glitches are part of the shakeout process, but some FDNY sources paint a different picture.

 

"The thing is more trouble than it's worth," grumbled one source. "No one is saying the thing is a lemon, but it clearly wasn't ready when they brought it out last fall."

 

Even at the ship's ceremonial debut, several water cannons didn't work, another source said.

 

"The boat is complicated, and every time we turn around, something isn't working quite right," that source said.

 

The 343, named after the number of firefighters killed on 9/11, and its sister ship, Firefighter II, were bought largely with federal Homeland Security grant money.

 

Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Florida built the ships, which are a big upgrade over the FDNY's aging marine fleet.

 

The new identical 500-ton boats are each 140 feet long and 38 feet wide - and are meant to produce a staggering 50,000 gallons of water a minute.

 

Problems with the pumps, however, have frequently reduced that capacity. The boat, which also suffered periodic electrical issues, has been taken out of service for repairs far more than expected, a FDNY source said.

 

The 343 returned to the city in late April after two weeks at the Thames Shipyard in Connecticut.

 

FDNY officials vigorously defended the boat's performance and said its stint at the dry dock was because the 343 is still under warranty and simply needed routine maintenance and a paint job.

 

"There were issues as there are in any prototype item," said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer. "They have been and will continue to be addressed by FDNY and Eastern Shipbuilding Group."

 

Dwyer said the 343 has passed every inspection and that it has been in service "the overwhelming majority of the time."

 

He said older fireboats were deployed when 343 was sidelined, ensuring that the city's waterways were covered.

 

Another FDNY source blamed the grumbling about the boat on Marine Unit veterans unhappy about having to learn a new vessel and obtain a new license.

 

The need for a powerful fireboat was evident during the 2001 terror attacks, when an FDNY ship was the sole source of water to Ground Zero for hours.

 

"These boats are specifically designed for this city," said Glenn Corbett, professor of fire science at John Jay College. "I'm not surprised there are glitches. It's just a question of how serious they end up being."

 

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/05/10/2011-05-10_fdnys_27_million_fireboats_beset_by_glitches_in_need_of_repairs_sidelined_from_d.html

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If I didn't know any better, I would think this article was about the SI Ferries. Same story. Millions thrown away for boats that constantly break down. What else is new?? :)

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If I didn't know any better, I would think this article was about the SI Ferries. Same story. Millions thrown away for boats that constantly break down. What else is new?? :)

 

Ironically, the SI Ferry boat dedicated to the victims of 9/11 also had a lot of problems.

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Ironically, the SI Ferry boat dedicated to the victims of 9/11 also had a lot of problems.

 

Yeah, those three boats are all a mess. From my understanding, the boats were designed to go long distances and the ferry runs are relatively short in nature, which is one problem in and of itself. :)

 

 

When I used to take the ferry, the elevators were always broken as well and all and all I just feel like those boats were built like shit, even though they were made up in Wisconsin. Someone was clearly asleep at the switch. The city is always trying to be cheap and that's why in the long run they wind up spending more because they always go for the cheapest bidder instead of going for quality. Quite frankly while the ferries weren't built the greatest, the main issue is that those boats aren't really made great for the needs of the SI Ferry. I'm sure something similar could said about these new FDNY boats.

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If I didn't know any better, I would think this article was about the SI Ferries. Same story. Millions thrown away for boats that constantly break down. What else is new?? :P

 

That new boat is needed as the rest of the FDNY large fireboat fleet is 50 plus years old

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That new boat is needed as the rest of the FDNY large fireboat fleet is 50 plus years old

 

Yeah, I know they need them, which is what makes the situation worse. What good are they if they keep breaking down??

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Yeah, I know they need them, which is what makes the situation worse. What good are they if they keep breaking down??

 

also the fleet is half of what it used to be , also does any one know if there is plans to order any more new boats?

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also the fleet is half of what it used to be , also does any one know if there is plans to order any more new boats?

 

They need to fix the new ones they have first before ordering more.

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