January 31, 1975. It was the largest fire in the United States at its time. A chemical-carrying tanker, the S.S. Edgar M. Queeny, loaded with monomers and other petro-had just rammed broadside another vessel, as it made a U-turn in the Delaware River. At the BP Oil Terminal in Trainer, PA, a docked Greek oil tanker, the S/TCorinthos, carrying about 407,000 barrels of Algerian crude, immediately exploded, killing 26 crew members with 11 persons missing. This accident followed the 1974 fire involving the T/V ELIAS just a few miles upriver.
Marine Firefighting Task Force
TMSA is one of the oldest marine fire fighting organizations in the nation. We began as the Marine Fire FIghting Task Force in 1980 as a result of 2 vessel fires in the Delaware River. The Tank Vessel ELIAS and CORINTHOS fire and exlplosions in Delaware County.
In the beginning, the MFFTF was primarily a mutual aid group that included federal, state and local resources that supported each other for incidents on the Delaware River and Bay.
In 1994, as a result of a Marine Firefighting Exercise, it was determined that one of the primary obstacles in providing an effective response was the lack of marine firefighting training. A training group was established and has led to the nationally recognized training programs offered today. The Tri-state Maritime Safety Association (TMSA) was formed in 1999 provide a permanent home to the MFFTF.
A team of firefighters, fire service instructors, mariners, and Coast Guard personnel was established in 1994 to locate training programs that could be utilized in the port. It was quickly determined that formal marine firefighting for land based fire fighters was not available.
The group started with the NFPA 1405 Guideline published in 1990 as a starting point and quickly began development. The large and diverse nature of the intended audience required that a flexible approach was needed. The format for Hazardous Material Response Training was utilized to form the basis of a modular program. The complete program in Marine Fire Fighting is based upon five levels and covers more that 50 hours of classroom and practical training. The training has been provided to over 5000 firefighters in 18 states.
TMSA has offered a train-the-trainer program for several years. Its most recent recipient was FDNY which sent 20 instructors in its Marine and Special Operations Command through an extensive training program to teach Level I and II within the department. The program was also offered as part of a pilot program of the Maritime Incident and Resources Training Partnership in Boston to the greater New England area and is in use in many departments there. Contact us for additional information on this program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA):TMSA provided support to local aviation law enforcement agencies on port and maritime security, maritime domain awareness and air/maritime operational interface. This training was well received and was requested at the national ALEA conferences and numerous regional conferences.
Marine Firefighting Training:TMSA has provided the Delaware River and Bay Marine Fire Fighting Task Force’s Marine Firefighting training to over 5,000 first responders since the programs inception in 1994. This was the first of its kind formal training program in the United States for first responders that must respond to marine vessel fires.
Urban Flood Response Training:TMSA in conjunction with its Tri-state Search And Rescue (TriSAR) committee, developed a training program to provide first responders the ability to respond safely to flood situations in urban and developed areas.
Terrorism Awareness Training:TMSA provides support for the Camden County Prosecutors and the Counter Terrorism Unit during its terrorism awareness training program that provided law enforcement officers awareness level training in response to terrorism. TMSA provided training to officers in maritime domain awareness, port and maritime security and maritime terrorism response.
Strengthening the Mid-Atlantic Region for Tomorrow (SMART) Organization:TMSA has been involved as a core member of the SMART States (http://www.smartstates.com/) design group to develop a regional notification system to address emergent situations involving maritime security and safety that resulted in the Coast Guard’s adoption of the Alert Notification and Incident Command System (ANICS).
M/V CLIPPER MERMAID Fire: (August 2006) TMSA provided Maritime Incident Response Team support to the Claymont Fire Company while the M/V vessel was moored at the Ocean Port Terminal in Claymont, DE. Fire broke out in Master’s Cabin a compartment off the C deck and was likely started by an electrical. MIRT worked closely with CG & fire companies. In addition, provided support to the Fire Marshall and USCG during initial fire investigation to determine cause of fire.
Pea Patch Island Airplane Crash:TMSA provided Maritime Incident Response Team support to the Delaware City Fire Department during rescue and recovery operations on Pea Patch Island after a small aircraft crashed during inclement weather. Ice conditions on the river required the use of Wilmington Fire Department’s (WFD) Fireboat and support from commercial tugs from Wilmington Tug to provide ice breaking and safety for the smaller response vessels. The TMSA’s Maritime Incident Response Team (MIRT) was activated by WFD to support and coordinate river operations with responders and the Coast Guard.
M/V IRINI TRADER Fire: (October 2004)TMSA provided Maritime Incident Response Team support to the Camden Fire Department while the M/V vessel was moored at the South Jersey Port Corporation Broadway Terminal. Fire broke out in compartment off the main deck and was fueled by bottled gases. TMSA worked closely with CG & fire departments to ensure the fire was extinguished. In addition, provided support to the Fire Marshall and USCG during initial fire investigation to determine cause of fire.
Camden Terrorism Response Training:TMSA provided support for the City of Camden during a one day training program that provided the Camden Police and Fire the opportunity to conduct specialized unit training on board commercial vessels in the port. The training was observed by USCG, Phila PD, Camden County Prosecutors Office, DRPA Police, and other regional personnel. TMSA coordinated the use of the commercial vessels, provide a command post and arranged a tour of a large commercial vessel in the port.
Fishing Vessel Fire:TMSA provided Maritime Incident Response Team support to the Town Bank Fire Department while the F/V vessel was moored at the Lobster Pier in Cape May, NJ. Fire broke out in house and eventually spread to the rest of the vessel. TMSA worked closely with CG & fire departments expedite the booming of the vessel to allow fire fighting foam to be applied to extinguish the fire.
TSA Port Vulnerability Assessments:TMSA is conducting two port wide vulnerability assessments of the port through the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Port Security Grant program. The assessment will evaluate Federal, state, local, and industry communications and WMD/Hazardous Material Response Capability and provide a report to TSA, USCG, MARAD and other port stakeholders.
NFPA Marine Firefighting Professional Qualification Standard Task Group:TMSA is a member of the National Fire Protection Association’s ProQual Task Group that has developed the proposed international marine fire fighting standards for the fire service.
July 4th 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 River Operations:TMSA provided coordination and additional assets for on-water operations over the Welcome America events along the Delaware River. Units responded to several emergencies including vessel breakdowns in the channel and a multi-vessel collision during the fireworks. Additionally, TMSA is working with regional law enforcement organizations and emergency responders to develop a marine annex to terrorism plans that would ensure effective use of maritime resources and coordination of bridges in the event of a terrorist attack in the region
Annual Delaware River Boat Race Operations:The MIRT participated in the Unified Command established to support the OPA Liberty Grand Prix boat race events on the river in 2004 and 2005). In addition, The MIRT coordinated and provided additional assets for on-water fire-rescue operations. Units responded to several emergencies including vessel breakdowns in the channel and an ejection of racers during the race.
Marine Firefighting STCW Course:TMSA was approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide firefighting training for mariners under international STCW conventional and USCG licensing requirements. This provides local mariners a cost effective alternative to traveling outside the port area for this mandated training.
Maritime Incident Response Team (MIRT):TMSA provides the MIRT to support incidents and operations on the Delaware River and Bay. The MIRT provides technical expertise in marine response to enhance activities within the tri-state area. MIRT is under the direction of a chief response officer from TMSA and has members who volunteer their time for planning, exercises, operations and incidents that could or do affect maritime safety in the region.
USS New Jersey:TMSA has been active in support of the Battleship museum for over 18 months. We have contributed hundreds of hours to support of Camden City, NJ Department of Community Affairs & the Home Port Alliance in development of responder training tailored to the ship, development of response & safety protocols & needs, & participation in marine safety & security operations around the vessel.
Republican National Convention:TMSA worked with emergency responders in the development of marine emergency response plans & operations in support of the RNC waterfront events.
OPSAIL 2000:TMSA, in conjunction with the Coast Guard & emergency responders, developed the Operation Plan for Emergency Response during the event. The plan involved federal & local assets from 5 counties & 2 states & TMSA provided personnel to coordinate operations in the Operations Center.
PIER 34 Collapse: TMSA provided a coordinator to the Coast Guard’s On Scene Commander to coordinate over 40 response vessels from 3 states & 8 counties to conduct maritime search & rescue operations in the Delaware River.
M/V KENT FORREST Fire: TMSA provided a Maritime Incident Response Team to support the Coast Guard when the vessel arrived in the port after experiencing a fire at sea. TMSA worked closely with CG & fire departments for 3 days to ensure that appropriate & safe measures were taken to protect the vessel & facility.
Barge B No. 95 Fire: TMSA assisted the Coast Guard & DE State Fire Marshal’s Office in the investigation of a fatal fire on board a barge carrying 4,000,000 gallons of crude oil. TMSA’s assistance discovered an extremely hazardous condition on the vessel that had to be evacuated until it could be eliminated.
McAllister Tug Response:At request of USCG, initiated TMSA response to collision and potential sinking of tug that was struck by a T/V in Delaware River to conduct dewatering and damage control operations.
RIVERLINK Ferry:TMSA worked with local law enforcement agencies including the Camden Police Department and the Camden County Park Police in addressing security issues surrounding the Riverlink Ferry. The DRPA Police do not have responsibility for safety and security of the terminal, vessel or passengers as they do for the PNBC Passenger Vessel Terminal.
MTSNAC: TMSA has been actively involved in national meeting of the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Council.
HSC:TMSA participated & presented at the 3rd, 4th 6th 7thand 8th annual National Harbor Safety Committee Conf.
Training/Conference:TMSA held its annual conference at Rutgers University in Camden. In addition we provided training to over 1000 personnel that generated nearly $10K in funding.
OPA Initiative: TMSA continues to work on the Oil Pollution Act requirements that could provide TMSA with a permanent funding base, however, until the Coast Guard promulgates the regulations, no funding potential can be created.