Welcome to Emergency Services Week!

Photo: Metalcraft Marine

Recent months have seen some excellent examples of why the world needs emergency services craft. Most recently, we experienced the Covid-19 virus pandemic. Just prior to that, we saw the Australian bush fires and, a little earlier, the evacuation of cruise ship passengers from a volcanic explosion on an island off New Zealand.

These incidents involved a wide range of craft from small, fast RIBs to large, ancient United States Navy hospital ships. Between, we had ferries, fishing boats, police boats, OSVs and LHD warships. They, of course, represent only a fraction of the world fleet of what could generally be termed “emergency services craft”.

Others, in use in various parts of the world are ambulance boats, fire boats, salvage vessels, rescue craft and many more. Of course, almost anything that floats can at times be used as “craft of convenience” for emergency response. Many multi-purpose naval vessels, such as the US Navy’s Austal-built Expeditionary Fast Transport ships and the Pacific Patrol Boats of the South Pacific island nations, are frequently used as such.

Firefighting • Search and Rescue • Police • Coast Guard •

Small RIBs and simple inflatable dinghies are frequently used around the world for police rescues and flood evacuation. Amateur, private and government rescue services have large fleets of various kinds of search and rescue vessels that are remarkably often required.

For major emergencies requiring significant evacuations, such as the bush fires on Australia’s New South Wales/Victoria border, large naval vessels such as a converted OSV and an LHD have been particularly useful because of the helicopters and the smaller craft, such as landing craft, that they carry.

The US Navy hospital ships, while not eventually required, provided valuable support and back up during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York and Los Angeles. Such responses may not be in a navy’s normal line of work but they are usually very good at them and the emergencies provide navies with useful “real life” practice.

Baird Maritime frequently reviews and describes many kinds of both specifically purposed and potentially adaptable emergency service craft. They are invariably interesting and often innovative. A more than normally intensive focus on them will be seen here over the coming week. We trust you will find it interesting, informative and inspirational.

Vessel Reviews:

Features and Opinion:

FEATURE | Bushfire support on land and sea

– When a devastating bushfire struck the Australian town of Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve, local commercial marine operators and maritime agencies played a vital role in providing relief for those affected.

– by Simon Enticknap and Sarah Cameron, Australian Maritime Safety Authority

FEATURE | AMSA calls on age-old seafaring tradition

– On a wild and windy January night, 10 nautical miles southeast of Cape Moreton, Queensland, the skipper of prawn trawler Amanda Jane answered a call from an unknown number.

– by Lauren Smit

News and Gear:

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global emergency services industries? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and June 5), so we can add it to this current edition of Emergency Services Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the emergency services sectors
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, equipment manufacturers etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the fishing world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

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Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone. A globally recognised expert on ferry safety, his doctoral thesis “Fatal Ferry Accidents, Their Causes and Prevention”, is still widely considered to be the bible on the subject.