Fire-fighting training conducted to familiarize first responders with new Horizon vessels.

Horizon Lines, Inc. has completed a containership fire-fighting exercise in Guam in cooperation with the Guam Fire Department, the US Coast Guard, the Port Authority of Guam and the Port Police Department.

The training exercise was the culmination of a five-week vessel familiarization program conducted on Horizon’s new Hunter Class vessels, which entered service in Guam last year. The five new Hunter Class vessels each have a capacity of 2,824 teus (twenty-foot equivalent units) and are capable of service speeds above 23 knots.

The final exercise was conducted on board the Horizon Eagle, focusing on ship-board fire-fighting; CO2 extinguishing systems; fire hose connections; galley extinguishing systems; fire main and external hook up points; engine room fire hazards; fire-fighting gear; and vessel escape.

“This is the first time for vessel on-board personnel and shore-based emergency responders to interact in a joint exercise. We enjoyed the experience and found it very educational,” expressed Captain Niles Baker, Master of the Horizon Eagle.

The cross-agency group of 105 safety personnel from the Guam Fire Department, the US Coast Guard, the Port Authority of Guam and the Port Police Department benefited from close interaction with the Horizon crews and detailed inspections of each Hunter Class vessel.

“As with other stateside communities, the Guam Fire Department is experiencing personnel shortages due to involvement with the war effort,” said Rick Agustin, Guam Terminal Operations Manager for Horizon Lines.

“Despite these challenges, we were excited with the great response from the trained fire fighters who participated. The exercise proved to be very rewarding for all involved.”

Marine transportation is critical to Guam’s growing economy. Horizon Lines has added new capacity to the market and made significant investments in terminal improvements to serve the Guam and Micronesia trades. Container volumes are expected to grow in coming years due to US military base relocation plans in the region. The US Navy, Marine Corp. and Air Force all plan expansion in Guam due to the island’s strategic location, including the move of some 8,000 Marines and their families from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam over the next several years.

“Our goal always is to have the best and the safest service to support our customers’ needs,” said Hugh Healey, General Manager, Guam and Micronesia for Horizon Lines. “There is no dedicated fire-fighting team or station at the Port of Guam, so we rely on the expertise of the vessel crew and local firefighters. This is a great example of how we all can work together to combat a common safety challenge and be prepared together.”