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Date last updated: Thursday, August 25, 13:31 PST

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Grant helps replace 3 fireboats at Port of Houston

By Jenalia Moreno
The Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — Port of Houston Authority commissioners voted Tuesday to spend nearly $15 million, mostly from a federal grant, to replace three aging fireboats.

The Port Authority's Marine Fire Department is the only group that provides marine fire protection services in the upper Houston Ship Channel and the average age of its three boats is 30 years.

The Port Authority recently received $11.2 million in Department of Homeland Security grants for new vessels.

Within the next 16 months, Clayton, N.Y.-based MetalCraft Marine will deliver three high-tech fireboats to the Port Authority.

The first vessel is scheduled to arrive in Houston in a year.

The boats are more than twice as fast as the port's current fleet and discharge up to 15,000 gallons of water per minute, nearly four times the water cannon discharge rate of the boats in use now.

Copyright 2011 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
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