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RNZN sailors train Fijian counterparts in crucial firefighting skills

Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy's Maritime Training Group (MTG) have been working with the crew of the RFNS Volasiga in Suva this week, to carry out training in firefighting, leak stopping and Damage Control Breathing Apparatus.

24 November, 2023

Starting with practical first aid firefighting using carbon dioxide (CO2) and dry powder extinguishers, the Fijian sailors initially worked on tackling diesel pit fires on the training ground at the Republic of Fiji Navy Training Base, RFNS Viti, before carrying out drills training in the fire unit.

The personnel were then able to go through a series of fire exercise scenarios with training smoke on board oceanic survey vessel RFNS Volasiga.

MTG team leader, Lieutenant Commander Raymond McLaughlin, said fire was one of the most dangerous things that could happen on a ship.

“If you have a fire on a ship when you’re at sea, it not only threatens the physical platform that’s keeping you out of the water, but can also disable your electrical or mechanical systems, which can lead to power loss and inability to control the ship, and that may result in a collision or grounding,” he said.

“Being able to effectively suppress a fire is a crucial skill for sailors, and we’ve really enjoyed working with the Fijian Navy on this training course.”

The MTG is most often used to train Navy personnel in New Zealand, but it’s more frequently being asked to work with other Pacific nations.

Members of the MTG have also visited Samoa this year to work with the Samoan Maritime Police.