Laugh-cry situation: we have ultra-modern rescue ships at sea worth 40 million euros, but we do not have qualified personnel. What Raed Arafat says

After being launched last year, the ultra-modern sea rescue ships that cost 40 million euros are now lying in the port, unable to be used, because the ISU cannot find qualified personnel for them.

One of the high-performance ships launched last year on the water at Damen Galati. Photo capture video

The ships, which were bought and delivered last year and for which 40 million euros were paid, are among the most modern, mobile hospitals can be placed on board. With a length of 51 meters and a width of 10 meters, they can reach up to 40 km per hour and can make the difference when it comes to saving hundreds of people, informs Digi24.

Unfortunately, since they were launched on the water, they could not be used, because a specialized crew of 160 members is needed. Despite the requests to help with personnel that the firefighters sent to the army or the border police, both institutions refused to comply with the requests, reasoning that they also need people.

According to some Digi24 sources, the firefighters would not even have 10 crew members, but it is hoped that by the end of 2024, 20 people can be hired, so that at least one ship can become operational.

What Raed Arafat says

Despite the fact that the head of the Department of Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, said that he already has part of the crew who will work on the two ultra-modern rescue ships and has begun training, so far there is not even a quarter of the required 160 of people.

“At the moment we have 43 non-commissioned officers being assigned to ships, for new officers we already have students at the Naval Academy. It is very difficult to open competitions, to hire people for niche positions. Ships and helicopters are not like ambulances. These in 10 days work. In all our systems there is a staffing crisis, we don’t have enough staff. Especially the ultra-specialized ones like ship captains. The market is limited. Preparation is started before the ships arrive“, declared Raed Arafat.

ISU Constanța supplemented the organizational chart

For its part, the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU) says that ISU Constanța has supplemented the organization chart with a new subunit, the Special Naval Detachment, because 160 qualified people are needed for the two ultra-modern rescue ships to be operational .

“The staffing percentage, at this moment, is approximately 28%, and this will continue, so that, in the shortest possible time, the planned positions will be staffed to allow the execution of missions with this type of boat. We make it clear that when we employ two ship commanding officers, missions at sea can be carried out with the existing staff”, shows IGSU.

“Since July 27, 2023, IGSU has taken steps to change the organizational structure of the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations “Dobrogea” of Constanţa County, meaning that the organizational chart was supplemented with a new subunit, respectively the Special Naval Detachment, which ensures the fulfillment of the duties established by the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations “Dobrogea” of Constanţa county for extinguishing fires and rescuing people at ships in ports and in Romanian territorial waters, respectively at maritime drilling and extraction platforms.

In order for the two ships to become functional and to be able to carry out firefighting and search-rescue missions at sea, since the past years we have shown concern for staffing with specialized personnel for the 160 positions required for both vessels (20 people/4 shifts/2 ships)”, IGSU officials also said.

Because, in addition to firefighters, the crew must include specialized categories of seafaring personnel (ship captain, electrician, engine driver, chief engineer, etc.), for this there are specific recruitment procedures. They must come from institutions belonging to the system of defense, public order and national security and can be selected by transfer, move (at the request or in the interest of the service for vacant management and execution positions) or recruitment from among the graduates of the Naval Academy “Mircea cel Old” Constanţa, promotions 2024-2027.

“In order to make the selection process more efficient in order to employ the personnel who will fit these boats, IGSU has taken steps to promote a memorandum that would allow the organization of contests from an external source.

Moreover, the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of Constanţa county conducted interviews to fill the vacant execution positions within the intervention component of the multi-role ship, with 43 military personnel identified who expressed their intention to participate in the selection organized in this sense. In order to complete this process, in the next period, the procedures for moving non-commissioned officers will be started, in stages, to ensure the response capacity at the level of the intervention structures”. IGSU representatives also said.

For the same purpose, students from the final years of the “Mircea cel Bătrân” Naval Academy and graduates of the 2023 class of military foremen assigned to IGSU did professional training internships in shipyards belonging to the Damen company, both in the Netherlands and in Romania.