By Kate Van Daele
The Duluth Fire Department officially took ownership of its newest water resource on Tuesday.
The all-hazard quick response vessel named Marine 19 after the nineteen Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) that the department has had since their inception in 1870.
The vessel was purchased after the department was successfully awarded a $447,750 Port Security FEMA grant. The grant required a 25% match in the amount of $149,250.
“Community support for this project has been outstanding. Much of the match dollars came from local business and some individual donations,” Interim Chief Shawn Krizaj said. “This vessel is important not only for the Port of Duluth/Superior, but also as a regional or State resource. This is the only boat of its kind within the Western Great Lakes. We are thrilled to add Marine 19 to our list of assets.”
The vessel was built locally by Lake Assault Boats LLC in Superior and features thermal-imaging night vision camera, side-scan sonar, radar and GPS navigation system, pumps, water cannon, firefighting foam, emergency medical equipment and gear to contain and handle potential hazardous material environmental threats. It will be used for both fires, and all types of water related emergencies.
“Working collaboratively on port security needs, the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit and the Duluth Fire Department, identified a gaps in our services when it came to marine response. Although our 12 foot inflatable quick response boat is valuable, we needed a larger vessel to provide a safe platform for an all-hazards approach to port safety and security,” said Kleive. “We are honored to have been awarded the Port Security grant from FEMA, and look forward to expanding our services to ensure a safer port environment.”
Department staff have begun training on the vessel which will continue through the end of May.
The public is invited to an unveiling ceremony on May 29 at 10 a.m. at The Slips at Pier B Resort Hotel.