Firefighters from ArcelorMittal–Liberia including its marine crew Sunday evening led a response effort to extinguish a blazing fire that erupted at about 5pm last afternoon, after an eruption on a boat said being loaded with petroleum products at the commercial port of Buchanan. The boat was bound for southeastern region of Liberia.
The AML crew swiftly responded to the SOS call from the Government and joined firefighters from the National Fire Service in Buchanan to prevent the fire from further spreading to the main office building of the port and to other valuable assets, eventually bringing the situation under control after several hours.
As the AML fire crew engaged the blazing flames from the ground, a tugboat from the company was also deployed on sea and responded with its water cannon to help contain the fire.
Buchanan Port Manager, Civicus Barsi-Giah, took to social media to commend the Liberian National Fire Service and the Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia for their response. He said the fire had started on a small boat or canoe, but that the fire teams had “done very well to put things under control.”
Leading the Incident Management Team on the ground, ArcelorMittal–Liberia Safety Manager, Flomo Williams described the company’s intervention as swift and effective which helped save lives and prevent what could have been a much bigger disaster with huge financial and environmental impact.
“Our response was swift and effective. When we were called by the Government and got approval from the AML Management, we deployed all available resources including firefighting equipment, firefighters, and paramedics to help save the Buchanan commercial port from the risk posed by the fire outbreak,” explained Williams.
The AML Health and Safety Manager said the response effort was only possible because of the collective effort and sacrifice of all involved, especially the tugboat crew, led by AML senior marine pilot Captain Riad Alchadaydh.
“I received an emergency call to proceed immediately and led the two (2) tugboats (SL SPHERE and SL LOIRE) to extinguish the fire. On scene, we observed that the fire was expanding to other boats alongside double berth, narrated Captain Alchadaydh.
He said the two are always on stand-by for berthing and unberthing of AML vessels but are also utilized in emergency rescue missions such as towing, salvage etc.
Captain Alchadaydh said the tugboats response was rapid and effective due to the tugboats’ capacity, the crew skillsets in firefighting and high level of seamanship knowledge, contributing factors that led to the success of the mission.
He commended everyone that participated in the response effort.
“My appreciation and gratitude go to everyone within the team, especially to Dr. Garmondyu E. Crusoe Jr.head of department Rail and Port and Mr. Frank Anderson, Manager Port Operation for their continuous push and support to the team. Special thanks also to the AML Health and Safety team including from the Phase II Project, MedAir and the National Port Authority (NPA).”
ArcelorMittal Liberia Fire Department and Marine crew have in the past responded to several fire incidents and conducted rescue missions for vessels stranded at sea which have helped save lives and valuable assets.