MTU Engines Power New York City Fireboat with the World’s Greatest Pumping Capacity

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Advanced monitoring and control equipment from MTU plays a key role on the high-tech vessel, which pays tribute to firefighters lost on 9/11.

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This comprehensive system not only controls the engines, it controls the entire propulsion system and displays the information on one of four touch screens throughout the vessel.

Named in honor of the 343 members of the New York City Fire Department who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty on September 11, 2001, the city’s newest fireboat, the Three Forty Three, can reach fires quickly and pump huge quantities of water to douse flames like those that spewed from the World Trade Center. For both propulsion and pumping capacity, this waterborne firefighting marvel relies on four MTU 12V4000 M70 Series diesel engines totaling 8,980 hp. For the utmost in reliability, the fireboat is also equipped with the MTU Callosum ship automation system, which controls the propulsion system and continuously monitors various critical areas and functions of the ship.

“The name of this ship will remind every person who sees it in action protecting the Port of New York and the surrounding waterways, and every firefighter who operates aboard it, of the supreme sacrifice made by so many of our members on 9/11, ensuring that we never forget,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, who commissioned the vessel along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Advanced fireboat brings impressive capabilities to the job

In his remarks, Cassano also called the Three Forty Three “the most technically advanced fireboat in the world.” At 140 feet long and with a 36-foot beam, the vessel has a top speed of 18 knots and can pump up to 50,000 gallons per minute (gpm), reportedly the highest volume of any fireboat ever commissioned. The need for such tremendous pumping capacity was made clear in the aftermath of 9/11, when FDNY fireboats supplied the only firefighting water available for many days following the attack on the Twin Towers.

The Three Forty Three is the first of two such vessels to be commissioned by New York City officials. The second, named Fire Fighter II, is currently undergoing sea trials. The two new vessels replace the FDNY’s longest-serving fireboats, both of which are more than 50 years old. Designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., and built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Fla., the new fireboats can carry 27 firefighters along with a seven-person operating crew.

MTU engines provide power for propulsion and pumping

The distinctive red MTU engines are designed with two sets of performance characteristics, depending on whether they are being used for propulsion or water pumping. Each engine is equipped with a fire-pump clutch and pump assembly driven off the front of the engine. Pumping capacity for each fireboat is 25,000 gpm on two engines (when the vessel is in motion while fighting fires) and 50,000 gpm on all four engines (when the vessel pumps water from a fixed location).

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About MTU

MTU Detroit Diesel, Inc. is the North American regional headquarters of MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, one of the world’s most important providers of diesel engines and drive and propulsion systems for ships, heavy-duty land and rail vehicles, and distributed energy. It offers a complete line of power solutions from 30 to 12,200 bhp (20 to 9,100 kW) for applications in the marine, rail, power generation, oil and gas, agriculture, mining, construction and industrial, and defense markets. MTU Detroit Diesel, Inc. is the sales and after-sales organization of the Tognum Group in North America.


With its two business units, Engines and Onsite Energy & Components, the Tognum Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of engines and propulsion systems for off-highway applications and of distributed energy systems. These products are based on diesel engines with up to 9,100 kilowatts (kW) power output, gas engines up to 2,150 kW, stationary fuel cells up to 345 kW and gas turbines up to 45,000 kW.

The product portfolio of the Engines business unit comprises MTU engines and propulsion systems for ships, for heavy land, rail and defense vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. The portfolio of the Onsite Energy & Components business unit includes distributed energy systems of the brand MTU Onsite Energy and fuel-injection systems from L’Orange. The energy systems comprise diesel engines for emergency standby power, prime power and continuous power, as well as cogeneration power plants based on gas engines, fuel cells and gas turbines that generate both power and heat.

In 2009, Tognum generated revenue of €2.5 billion and employs more than 8,700 people. Tognum has a global manufacturing, distribution and service structure with 27 fully consolidated companies, more than 140 sales partners and over 500 authorized dealerships at approximately 1,200 locations. The shares of Tognum AG (ISIN: DE000A0N4P43) have been stock-exchange listed since 2007 and are included in the MDAX.

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