FDNY Responds to Criticism of 'Three Forty Three'

The FDNY has responded to a story published in The New York Daily News on Tuesday that claims the "Three Forty Three" has been riddled with problems.

"The article is grossly inaccurate," FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer told Firehouse.com.

The newspaper's report, which relied on anonymous department sources, stated that the $27 million fireboat has experienced numerous technical issues as well as malfunctions to the water pumps, intercom system and bow camera.

Dwyer said this just isn't the case.

"As you move along with a prototype, you learn new things," he said. "To make it seem like it doesn't work is nonsense."

The 140-foot, 500-ton fireboat is considered the first of its kind and the FDNY claims it is the largest in the world. It has the ability to pump 50,000 gallons of water per minute and can move twice as fast as the department's older boats.

The boat -- paid for in a large part by DHS grants -- was commissioned on May 26, 2010 and is coming up on its one-year anniversary, which is when the overall warranty will expire.

"Every little thing we may have go wrong, we're getting it checked out," he said. "We're getting everything checked out while we can."

The report also pointed out that the boat was recently dry-docked in Connecticut for two weeks.

According to Dwyer, the boat was at a maintenance facility chosen by Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group -- the boat's manufacturer -- to paint it while it was still under warranty.

He said that the boat is currently stationed at Marine 1's headquarters and that the dock there is smaller than they would like causing it to chip from bumping up against it. The department is currently building a new headquarters for Marine 1 that will include a bigger dock.

Dwyer said that while the fire boat has been taken out of service for training and maintenance, it has been in service for "the overwhelming majority of time."

He also added that overall, the department has been happy with the state-of-the-art boat.

"The boat runs well, it does everything we need it to do," he said. "It has met our expectations and in some cases has exceeded them."