Google Barges’ lack of fireside-security options prompted their early demise
Google’s 4-story barges did not even get the prospect to shed their security nets earlier than the undertaking was scrapped. We imply that actually, as one of many 4 barges was dismantled and bought for scrap in August. Now, we lastly know not solely the rationale for that, but in addition that the venture was placed on maintain method earlier than we even came upon concerning the vessels final yr, all due to hearth questions of safety. In accordance with paperwork related to the challenge, the barges’ contractor (Foss Maritime Co.) was pressured to close down development resulting from a number of hearth-security considerations raised by the Coast Guard. Since Google needed to show the vessels into floating showrooms, they might have hosted a gentle stream of tourists per day, so authorities have been primarily frightened about overcrowding.
The corporate promised to restrict the variety of passengers on board to one hundred fifty at anybody time regardless of anticipating 1,200 individuals to go to every single day, however authorities weren’t satisfied. In an e mail that Coast Guard official Robert Gauvin despatched Foss Maritime in March 2013, he stated Google did not inform them of any anti-overcrowding measures. Having extra individuals than the vessels can carry could be deadly, as a result of the barges, Gauvin wrote, “could have over 5,000 gallons of gasoline on the primary deck and a considerable quantity of flamable materials on board.”
Extra importantly, the contractor did not “incorporate sure hearth security options sometimes required,” the Coast Guard stated in an separate e-mail from August final yr. A lot so, that they could not even inform if “evacuation of disabled individuals has been thought-about” when the barges have been designed. Together with personal hearth security corporations, the authorities put collectively a 20-web page doc detailing the hearth-security options Google might want to incorporate into the barges’ design. However, because the undertaking was nonetheless suspended indefinitely in September 2013, we’re assuming Mountain View discovered it simpler to scrap no less than one of many vessels as an alternative of making an attempt to repair the difficulty.
[Picture credit score: Tom Hilton/Flickr]