Sept 14, Colombo: The first fire-fighting high speed craft produced in Sri Lanka to control the fires on boats and ships in the deep was launched at the Dikowita Fisheries Harbor under the State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi on Thursday (13).
The firefighting craft was completely made domestically by Solas Marine Lanka Pvt. Ltd.
The vessel is capable of speeding up to 35 nautical miles per hour and has a capacity of 600,000 liters of water. It has facilities to spray water from a distance of 120 meters and can be engaged in fire-fighting activities in the seas 200 nautical miles off shore and return successfully.
The BELUGA-18 firefighting vessel has facilities for six firefighters and they are specially trained in firefighting in the sea.
The firefighting craft is also equipped with 8000 liters of chemicals to control fires caused by fuel or other inflammable materials.
The craft is equipped with modern technology to identify the location of the distressed vessel as soon as a fire is reported and also with Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology to find the definite location of the ship from its IMO number.
The ship is built with the capability to automatically activate and stay afloat in the sea at the location of the disaster using GPS technology when controlling a fire in the sea
State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi, who attended the launch of the vessel, also monitored the facilities and the operation of the vessel.
He also held discussions with the manufacturing company on providing facilities to bring ashore the distressed vessels as well as to save the injured and distressed fishermen when they are engaged in fishing.
Speaking at the launch, State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said, "We as a country, really should be pleased to have such a product in Sri Lanka because it is a great reputation for the country and a program to bring in foreign exchange for the country."
"I have proposed several years ago high-speed craft for the speedy rescue in such emergency rescue situations. I have suggested that at least such vessels should be located in the North, East, South and Northwestern provinces. "
He said that recently several fishermen were subjected to various accidents in the seas and many lives could have been saved if there were such vessels. He suggested the craft should be further developed to use for rescue missions.
Managing director of the company Mr. SD Premathilake, said the craft consists of equipment to spray water during a fire to keep the craft cool and protect it from the excessive heat of the fire.
He added that the craft is equipped with the latest technology in the world to identify the craft's location from the land and direct it to firefighting operations.
In addition, those who are being rescued can be provided with emergency treatments and taken to the nearest harbor, he added.
His company has already produced 80 high-speed vessels for Indian Navy and five high-speed vessels for the Maldives, and the vessels provided to the Indian Navy are being used by the Coast Guard.
The Managing Director said his company is ready to update and improve the facilities of the firefighting vessel according to the criteria set by the Sri Lankan government.