On water or land: Moscow’s emergency rescue ship is versatile

On water or land: Moscow’s emergency rescue ship is versatile
The ship can fight fires in the water and on the shore, cut through ice, supply electricity to an emergency site and function as a search and rescue base. Mos.ru tours this multifunctional fire and rescue ship.

The Polkovnik Chernyshyov is docked in the Moskva River opposite building No. 4 on the Paveletskaya Embankment. It is managed by the Fire and Rescue Centre of the Department of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Fire Safety. This is a unique and technically modern riverboat, the latest in its class in Russia. The ship is on standby every day.

The Polkovnik Chernyshyov (Colonel Chernyshyov) is 31 metres long and almost seven metres wide, with a deadweight of 120 tonnes. Maximum speed is 30 kilometres per hour. The crew includes five rescuers and three ship technicians.

Fights fires, rescues people and supplies energy

The ship’s main purpose is to extinguish large fires on the water and on land near the Moskva River. It can work independently, using three jets with a capacity of 100 litres per second each; and as an auxiliary vessel, powerful pumps can supply 320 litres per second.

Eight main fire lines can be laid at a distance of over one kilometre and connected to four vehicles each. Thus, 32 fire trucks can receive water from the river. This not only provides an uninterrupted supply of water but also reduces costs. Fires are extinguished with river water instead of filtered potable water from a hydrant.

The unique ship is only used to extinguish large fires. “The first fire extinguished by the ship was that in the Viking restaurant on 30 April 2010. By the way, the order to include the ship in the firefighting arsenal was signed on 1 May. So, the ship took on the fire during the training period,” Nikolai Musatov, head of the water fire unit for the Fire and Rescue Centre, said.

The Polkovnik Chernyshyov is great for fighting fires, but its capabilities are not limited to this. It can be used as a base for search and rescue operations. There is a special removable platform for divers, and the necessary equipment can be placed on the cargo deck.

Also, the ship has protective booms that can be deployed to contain oil spills in the river. This facilitates city services efforts in removing pollutants.

“Also, in the event of an outage, we can supply electricity to a social facility, for example, a kindergarten, thanks to the powerful diesel generators,” Musatov said.

Fire and ice

The ship can remain functional even if some of its equipment fails. This is called high survivability by professional crews. In total, there are eight engines in the generating unit: two main engines, two diesel generators and four diesel fire pumps.

The Polkovnik Chernyshyov is an ice-class ship; the hull is reinforced, allowing it to navigate icy waters.

“The ship can move freely through up to 10 centimetres of ice, but at a reduced speed,” Musatov said. “If the ice is thicker, a tug will cut a channel. A dangerous ice layer is 20 centimetres or thicker, but the ship could move through it if necessary.”

The Polkovnik Chernyshyov is on duty on the Moskva River and the Moscow Canal within the city boundaries. But, until the navigation season begins, the ship’s navigation area is limited, as the floodgates are closed.

Two colonels

The ship is named after Colonel Yevgeny Chernyshyov, who headed the Firefighting Service of the Federal Fire Service of the Emergencies Ministry’s Directorate in Moscow. He was called the chief firefighter of Moscow and nicknamed “Tushila” (he who fights fires). The colonel died during a fire in 2010. He was awarded the title Hero of Russia posthumously.

Thanks to Chernyshyov, the Fire and Rescue Centre has this ship. For many years, he thought of building a ship capable of supplying a maximum amount of water for firefighting purposes in any season. The city eventually supported the idea and allocated the funds.

This unique vessel was built at the Sredne-Nevsky Plant in St Petersburg. Its name was also chosen by Chernyshyov, who called it the Ataman. But after the fatal fire in 2010, the ship was renamed as Polkovnik Chernyshyov.