Marine news release 2011

TSB # M01/2011

Transportation Safety Board calls for safety improvements to sail training vessels

Gatineau, September 29, 2011- Following its investigation into the loss of the sail training vessel Concordia, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is calling for change both domestically and internationally.

"The TSB found the sail training vessel Concordia was lost in a squall because the risk of a knockdown was not understood," said Jonathan Seymour, Member of the Board. "Consequently, appropriate action – such as reducing sail or changing course – was not taken before the squall hit. With doors, windows and vents left open, water flooded into the hull and the vessel capsized."

"Every watchkeeper must understand how their vessel will behave in deteriorating weather," added Seymour.

The Board's investigation identified two important safety issues. Canadian sail training vessels are required to have comprehensive stability guidance on board, but there is no requirement for watchkeepers to be trained in its use. The first recommendation is for this training to be mandatory.

Additionally, because sail training is international in scope, the Board's second recommendation is for Transport Canada to lead the way towards international standards for stability guidance and training. Unlike Canada, some jurisdictions do not require comprehensive stability guidance. 

"All 64 people aboard the Concordia survived this harrowing experience," noted Seymour, "but we need to make sure young people are never again put in this position."

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