KINGS POINT, N.Y., Feb. 23, 2016 – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) midshipmen participated in Advanced Firefighting training at Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle Military Sealift Command (MSC) Firefighting School, Earle N.J. last October.
All midshipmen (both Deck and Engine) take the Basic and Advanced Firefighting courses taught by the Nautical Science Division of the Marine Transportation Department. The capstone of both courses is the live fire training exercises at the MSC Training Center.
Firefighting Coordinator Capt. Brian Hall, Professor in the Department of Marine Transportation, noted “this training gives the prospective merchant marine officer the training to drill and exercise the crew in order to respond to shipboard fires. Both Basic and Advanced Firefighting courses are an integral component of the Academy's U.S. Coast Guard and International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved training program.”
Midshipman 1st Class Austin Neuman, who took the course with Hall, put his advanced firefighting training to use last June during his Sea Year. Serving on the 52,000-ton roll-on roll-off M/V Courage, carrying a mix of commercial and military vehicles, he helped put out a significant fire in the ship’s cargo hold as they steamed off the British coast. “Experiencing a major shipboard fire has made me understand the importance of everything we learned in firefighting class. It especially showed me how beneficial our training at fire school in, Earle, N.J., is,” said Neuman.
Midshipmen attend Basic and Advanced Firefighting training as part of the requirement for the USCG license and STCW Qualification. They attend Basic Firefighting in the Plebe Year prior to assignment at sea. First Classmen take Advanced Firefighting once they have completed Sea Year as part of their qualification as an officer in order to serve as On Scene Leader to fight and control fires aboard ship.
By Cmdr. Benjamin Benson
Photos by Capt. Brian Hall