On Deck

Daisy Dong and the project team behind the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s new heavy fire vessel reveal the key innovations behind the first firefighting vessel to be designed and built in Singapore.

It is official. The heavy fire vessel (HFV) that was launched in June 2018 is the world’s first firefighting vessel classified to Fi-Fi III by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for its outstanding firefighting capacity.

According to ABS classification, a Fi-Fi III class firefighting vessel must be able to produce a total water capacity of more than 9,600 m³/h, with monitors that can be remotely controlled from the wheelhouse. The 50-metre HFV can deliver an unparalleled 14,400 m³/h.

This formidable vessel is a collective effort by the HFV project team members and built in ST Engineering Marine for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to support SCDF’s firefighting and rescue missions in Singapore Territorial Waters.

To achieve its exceptional mission capability, the HFV design team, led by Daisy Dong, Director of Hull at ST Engineering Marine’s Engineering Design Centre (EDC), has incorporated several breakthrough innovations into the vessel’s design from the onset.

“We used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to optimise the hull form and the ship appendages, including the stern wedge, duck tail and bow, to reduce water resistance. Optimised hull form with less drag means better fuel efficiency and higher speed,” said Daisy. “Then, we subject the hull form to a further series of CFD simulations and model tests to determine the optimal shape that can achieve the best speed, fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability and seakeeping performance.”

Yeow Xian Ching, a member of the HFV project team, believed that it was the forward-looking attitude and design-thinking mindset of the SCDF, Defence Science and Technology Agency and ST Engineering Marine that enabled the delivery of the vessel’s ground-breaking firefighting capabilities.

He said, “If you are going to build something that is going to be the world’s first, you cannot afford to play safe and be conventional. The HFV is the world’s first Fi-Fi III CBR firefighting vessel only because our goal was to build a robust vessel that can deliver the best performance to fight fires and to save lives at sea. During the design stage, we were constantly asking ourselves whether there were any improvements that could enhance the vessel further. Nothing was left to chance.”

The result was a highly versatile vessel designed to operate in different firefighting modes under a wide range of operational scenarios. The Dynamic Positioning Error Force Modelling system, for instance, is coupled with two bow thrusters to enable the crew to fight fires at any angles while maintaining the vessel’s position. In the ‘pump station operation’ mode, the HFV can supply seawater to the shore at berth, and in the ‘maximum firefighting operation’ mode, its four powerful engines can drive the four firefighting pumps on board as well as the propulsion system at the same time.

Daisy felt that the optimised hull form and the integrated propulsion and firefighting systems of the HFV have forged new frontiers in firefighting vessel design and established ST Engineering Marine as a significant innovator in modern ship design and shipbuilding.

She added, “We are able to extend our deep knowledge and experiences in building advanced naval vessels for the military to other customers. More importantly, it cultivates in our engineering team an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset that is crucial to navigate the uncharted waters ahead.”

The HFV in numbers

12 The number of water and foam monitors on the HFV. Fed by four fire pumps that are driven by four main propulsion trains, the dozen monitors can produce a total flow capacity of 16,200 m³/h with each pump delivering a maximum capacity of 3,600m³/h.

24 The duration of the HFV in CBR mode. The protection system shuts down ventilation and recirculates the contaminated air through a filtration system to protect and enhance the survivability of the passengers and crew.

30 The total number of passengers that can board the HFV. The vessel has an adequate rescue deck, a quick launch and recovery system for a rescue boat and a personnel rescue room to support rescue-at-sea missions. An additional SCDF Command Room functions as a command centre for the coordination of firefighting and rescue missions.