World’s Largest Self-Righting Fireboat Unveiled

Taiwanese Shipyard’s Cutting-Edge Vessel Set to Enhance Hong Kong’s Firefighting Capabilities


A video circulating on social media platforms in Taiwan has unveiled the testing phase of what is believed to be the world’s largest self-righting fireboat. The footage showcases the vessel undergoing rigorous tests, where it remarkably rolls before swiftly returning to an even keel within a mere six to ten seconds, as per documentation disclosed by its constructors.

Lungteh Shipbuilding, a prominent private shipyard based in Taiwan, renowned for its expertise in constructing patrol boats, interceptors, and other high-speed, high-performance vessels, has confirmed the authenticity of the tests in response to media inquiries. However, the shipyard has refrained from furnishing further elucidation regarding the specifics of the vessel or its prospective owner.

The South China Morning Post has diligently unearthed pertinent details from a notice issued by the Hong Kong Government Logistics Department. According to the newspaper’s report, the fireboat, simply named Fireboat 12, was commissioned in June 2020 by the Hong Kong Fire Service Department. Sources intimate that Hong Kong sought a cutting-edge vessel equipped with a self-righting mechanism, typically found in smaller lifeboats, to adeptly navigate the tumultuous sea conditions prevalent in eastern Hong Kong.

The widely circulated video depicts the approximately 131 feet (40 meters) long fireboat being released by a crane into the harbor in a fully inverted position, subsequently transitioning from a heeled posture to an upright stance. This remarkable feat has garnered the vessel endearing monikers in Taiwan, such as “tumbler” and “roly-poly,” reminiscent of a child’s bathtub toy.

Despite the vessel’s impressive capabilities, it faces the potential of acquiring an unintended sobriquet akin to the UK’s renowned scientific research vessel, the Royal Research Ship (RRS) Sir David Attenborough, which famously emerged from a public naming contest with the whimsical designation “Boaty McBoatface.” Notably, one of the vessel’s advanced underwater submarines was christened with the aforementioned popular appellation.

The testing procedures for the “tumbler” fireboat transpired at Suao Port in northeastern Taiwan on April 17. The reported contract price for the vessel stands at approximately US$16 million, with assertions from the builder that the 200-ton fireboat stands as the largest self-righting vessel globally.

As per reports from the South China Morning Post, the vessel is currently undergoing further testing and is slated to undergo a period of crew training before its anticipated arrival in Hong Kong as early as June. The Hong Kong Fire Services Department remains steadfast in its commitment to fortify and augment its operational capabilities, with previous collaborations with Lungteh Shipbuilding for marine police, customs, and fireboats underscoring the potential for additional procurements of new fire and command boats to bolster the marine arm of the fire department.


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