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IES Marine Firefighting & Salvage Orientation, Sponsored by Coast Guard

Marine Firefighting & Salvage Training with IES

IES delivers Marine Firefighting & Salvage Orientation in cooperation with Coast Guard

On September 14 and 15, 2015 the first course delivery of Marine Firefighting and Salvage Orientation was presented in Boston, MA.  This course was a collaboration between Industrial Emergency Services (IES) and Ardent Americas. It was sponsored by the United Sates Coast Guard Sector Boston. Course attendees consisted of representatives of local fire departments, the United States Coast Guard, local Harbormasters, police departments, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and other first responders.

Coast Guard particpates with IES to deliver vital Marine Firefighting & Salvage Training

USCG Captain of the Port Claudia Gelzer preparing to give opening remarks to participants.

This course fills the need to educate responding agencies on the resources provided by third party marine firefighting and salvage companies during maritime incidents. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) requires vessels of 400 gross tons or greater (with a few exceptions) to provide a vessel response plan (VRP) to be used when the master of a vessel has determined that the resources and personnel available on board cannot meet the needs of an actual or potential incident. The VRP should also be activated when a discharge of oil, or substantial threat of such discharge of oil exists. These VRPs are required to identify a salvage and marine firefighting provider for each Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone in which a vessel operates. A unique provision of these VRPs is that they must have a marine firefighting pre-plan which outlines the responsibilities and actions during a marine fire incident. The principle purpose is to explain the resource provider’s role, and the support which can be provided during marine firefighting incidents. Policies, responsibilities and procedures for coordination of on-scene forces are provided in the plan. It should be designed for use with other state, regional and local contingency and resource mobilization plans.[1]

These regulations bring resources to first responders that they may not be aware of. At recent table top exercises, it was noticed that many responders are not aware of the regulations and resources. It is with this in mind that the course Marine Firefighting and Salvage Orientation was developed. The USCG Sector Boston also realized the need for bringing together the first responders and marine firefighting/salvage providers together before an incident occurs, and was able to secure a grant to present this training. The training was delivered by Assistant Chief Craig Shelley (IES), Regional Project Manager Robert Tyson (Ardent Americas), and Division Chief Sue Tarantino (IES). The material that was covered in this 16 hour course was as follows:

  • Regulatory requirements
  • The business of salvage and marine firefighting
  • The salvor way and the critical path
  • Recent major incident case study including the salvage and marine firefighting operations
  • Incident Command and how does the salvage/marine firefighting provider integrate into an existing system
  • Vessel plans and documents that will be useful to first responders
  • Past incidents with lessons learned
  • Local hazards and preparations
  • “Bringing it all together” final exercise


Each module contained a group exercise that pertained to the module’s subject so that students from various organizations shared knowledge and experience to achieve a common goal. This course was well received and the “take away” from the course was that interaction prior to an incident is much better than during an incident. Key port partners shared their knowledge and experience with each other and third party responders. In the end, this should make emergency incidents flow smoother, be more efficient, and provide adequate resources to manage the incident.

The key to the success of the course was having “experienced” personnel presenting and facilitating the class and practical exercises. Students were able to ask questions during the course as well as during breaks and after class of subject matter experts. Having an experienced marine fire chief, a salvage master, and an incident command/strategy and tactics SME as course instructors enhanced the student’s overall learning experience. It also facilitated group activities by giving personal attention to the different groups.

For further information on these courses and how IES and Ardent can help you prepare for an emergency response, please contact IES at 225 218-6458


Craig H. Shelley is currently the Assistant Chief of Marine Operations at IES and whose duties include business development, training, consulting, emergency response and Incident Management Team assignments. Previous experience was with Saudi Aramco where he served as a fire protection technical advisor for nearly nine years. He was the fire chief for the City of Rutland (VT) as well as serving for 26 years with the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), retiring as the Chief of Marine Operations. Craig holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Administration and a Master of Science in Executive Fire Service Leadership.

Robert Tyson is currently the Regional Project Manager for Ardent Americas. Mr. Tyson previously worked for Svitzer Salvage since 2008 and assumed his current role with Ardent Americas since the merger of Svitzer and Titan to form Ardent Americas this year. An expert in commercial diving, Mr. Tyson has served as a salvage master, coordinator, and regional operation manager, while simultaneously working on commercial and business development. Robert holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering.

Sue N. Tarantino is currently a Division Chief in marine operations for IES and whose duties include training, consulting, emergency response and Incident Management Team assignments. Previously Sue served with the Charlotte (NC) Fire Department (CFD) for 27 years, retiring as a battalion chief. Ms. Tarantino oversaw the pre-incident response planning and response to numerous petroleum storage tank facilities within the battalion’s response district. She has also served as the Chairperson for the department’s Health and Wellness Committee and drafted the CFD’s respiratory protection program. Sue holds an Associate degree in Fire Protection Technology, a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Psychology and a Master of Business Administration.

Authors: Craig H. Shelley & Sue N. Tarantino

[1] Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart I, Salvage and Marine Firefighting, 155.4025 Definitions

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