AWARDS 2022 | Best Large FiFi Boat – Monjed 2 – MetalCraft Marine

Best Large FiFi Boat – Monjed 2 (Photo: Walker Marine Design)
Best Large FiFi Boat – Monjed 2 (Photo: Walker Marine Design)

This fast, stable, and versatile aluminium catamaran fireboat was built in Canada to the exacting requirements of the Kuwait Fire Force. Located in the politically turbulent heart of the oil rich Arabian Gulf, Kuwait has an obvious need for powerful and rapid maritime fire suppression. Equally obviously, this fine new vessel provides that magnificently.

"The boat is notable for having a firefighting system consisting of two hydraulic telescopic towers that can be raised 45 feet (13.7 metres) above the deck," MetalCraft Marine told Baird Maritime. "Each tower is fitted with a water cannon that can shoot 5,700 gallons (25,912 litres) of water per minute. The height of the towers is designed to facilitate shooting water into and onto the decks of ships. Each cannon also has a maximum range of approximately 460 feet (140 metres)."

For close proximity fires that have been measured at up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (537 degrees Celsius), the boat has a fully enveloping water curtain just under the brow of the raised pilothouse. Also, the vessel's great beam and high degrees of stability allow the turrets to shoot water in nearly any direction.

"The boat's finished weight was projected at 170,000 pounds (77,110 kilograms). To verify the speed requirement of 25 knots, we undertook tank testing at Memorial University and added 7,500 pounds (3,401 kilograms) to the test model. The model tested to 27 knots in the test tank at 177,500 pounds (80,512 kilograms). Upon launch, the boat weighed in at 184,000 pounds (83,687 kilograms) fully laden. During sea trials the boat tested at 184,000 lbs at 28 knots."

The builder said the hull design was originally intended for an offshore windfarm crewboat. The hull was designed for the North Sea but also ensured a smooth ride in Lake Ontario.

"The large ports worldwide have large tug-type fireboats that cost twice as much as Monjed 2, generate a wake two times bigger, and require twice as many crew. They also cost more than twice to maintain. We believe some major ports will eventually select MetalCraft boats to reduce their costs and improve their response capability."

MetalCraft amended the design to be built in modules and the company constructed the twin hulls and wheelhouse separately. The builder said welding the two hulls together was arduous, and it believes its initial bracing of the frames could have been further improved.

"Governments around the world with the exception of the US are continually increasing regulatory requirements and making life for shipyards more and more expensive," MetalCraft told Baird Maritime when asked about trends that impact shipbuilding. "We are seeing shipbuilding standards in the UK, Canada, and Australia that are around 10 to 15 per cent more arduous than in the US, and a number of Australian yards that had wanted to stay afloat even expanded their operations in the US."

The company had a good year in 2022 despite manpower shortages and a slight decline in revenues compared to record figures it achieved in 2021.

"This year, we expect to set a new record yet again, thanks in part to our having secured newbuilding orders from the US Navy and Coast Guard."

MetalCraft added that there is significant growth in the small fireboat sector as smaller communities have adequate budgets and recognise the need to protect homes and businesses and reduce insurance costs by having a good ISO score.

"The medium and large ports in Canada are all having new records in cargo numbers, and so they keep expanding or modernising their firefighting vessel fleets and systems. Also, car carrier fires caused by lithium batteries being difficult to control are going to end the ability of EV manufacturers to transport their products by ship, or they will have to deal with significantly higher insurance rates on EV shipments. This is a serious development for the EV market and so someone needs to come up with an inexpensive way of adequately extinguishing these types of fires."

MetalCraft also recognises there is a huge boom ongoing in the offshore wind market.

"We have not been able to participate in the windfarm support vessel market due to our orderbook being full. We also continue to see more defence spending and so we are tailoring our product offerings more towards defence customers. We are also hoping to expand into autonomous vessels."

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World