January 9, 2013

Arbitrator reduces Portland fireboat punishments

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Portland's newest fireboat, the MV City of Portland IV.

Jack Milton / Staff Photographer

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The fireboat left the “Destroyer Channel” between Fort Gorges and Little Diamond Island around 5:55 p.m. A minute later, the boat entered an area north of Fort Gorges that has a shoal and marked obstructions.

Goodall was responsible for determining staffing on what was described by the city as a “training run.”

Murphy was responsible for safely navigating around marked obstructions, but did not do so, since Goodall did not alert him to the obstacle.

“As engineer, (Goodall) should have alerted the pilot to possible hazards and, as lookout, should have been more aware of his surroundings,” Altman wrote.

On some calls, three crew members are required to be aboard – a deckhand, engineer and a pilot, but Altman found the city’s policy on three-member crews unclear.

Clegg said the city has since clarified that policy.

Training of fireboat pilots emerged as an issue after the accident. The city does not require pilots to get a license from the U.S. Coast Guard. Instead, the city trains pilots in-house, a practice recently re-affirmed by an independent consultant.

Altman commended both the city and the firefighters for their handling of the incident, “in the face of public scrutiny.” The city updated its policies, while the firefighters accepted responsibility for their roles, he said.

“These actions are a positive step towards minimizing the possibility of this type of incident happening again in the future,” he wrote.

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:
Twitter: @randybillings

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