Marine news release 2007

TSB # M02/2007

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA IS CONCERNED ABOUT LIFERAFT POSITIONING ON SMALL FISHING VESSELS

(Gatineau, Quebec, October 11, 2007) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its final report (M05N0072) into the September 12, 2005 capsizing and loss of life of the small vessel Melina & Keith II.

The TSB investigation found that the positioning of the liferafts on board could have been problematic. It was determined that liferafts placed on board should be easily accessible to provide the crew with valuable lifesaving equipment. Additionally, liferafts should be positioned in such a way that they are not restricted by ship's rigging or structure in the event of emergency. The report points out other risks including the following:

  • the lack of a stability assessment, despite numerous modifications
  • the crew not wearing personal flotation devices while working on deck
  • the lack of a certificated mate on board the vessel

Transport Canada (TC) advised that provisions requiring float-free liferafts will be proposed to be adopted in the Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations and would be similar to those included in the amended Life Saving Equipment Regulations for passenger vessels. The Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations are expected to be finalized in 2008.

In August 2007, TC issued a Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) addressing the stowage of liferafts and inflatable rescue platforms. This bulletin combines the existing points contained in SSBs 09/1993 and 03/2001 and additional information with regard to the optimum positioning of the liferafts.

In April 2006, the TSB issued a Marine Safety Advisory (MSA) to the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS) on the subject of electronic position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) registration forms and associated emergency contact numbers. The MSA drew attention to the need to revise and update EPIRB registration forms regularly. During its investigation, the TSB found that the search and rescue (SAR) coordinator had difficulty contacting the fishing vessel owner and operator because of insufficient contact information. The difficulty in communicating with the contact persons contributed to a delay in classifying the occurrence as a distress. Also contributing to a delay was the lack of transmission of a manually operated distress signal from the wheelhouse of the vessel.

As a result of the Melina & Keith II accident, two reviews were conducted, one regarding SAR operations, the other dealing with standards. These resulted in 18 and 17 recommendations, respectively. Many have since been implemented, and the remainder are in progress.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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The public report M05N0072 and Backgrounder are also available on this site.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca