Marine news release 2012

Unaddressed safety issues put fishing vessel crew at risk

Gatineau, Quebec, 20 August 2012 – In its latest investigation report (M11L0050), released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has identified once again that safety issues on board  fishing vessels persist.

On 21 May 2011, one-half mile off Cap du Phare, Îles-de-le-Madeline, Quebec, the small fishing vessel Lady Jacqueline took on water and was abandoned with a load of lobster on board. The operator and the two crew members were rescued by fishing vessels from l’Étang-du-Nord. The crew exhibited symptoms of mild hypothermia but none of them were injured.

"Safety issues in the fishing vessel industry are complex and interrelated. Our investigation into the Lady Jacqueline identified issues regarding stability, lifesaving appliances, training and safe working practices," said Marc-André Poisson, TSB Director of Marine Investigations. "Not surprisingly, these issues represent four of the 10 systemic issues affecting the safety of fishing vessels that were identified in the Board’s recent safety issues investigation into fishing vessel safety.” The report, Safety Issues Investigation into Fishing Safety in Canada, emphasizes that, to obtain real and lasting improvement in fishing vessel safety and avoid accidents such as this one, the interactions between and among the identified safety issue must be acknowledged and the issues addressed in a coordinated manner.

The Lady Jacqueline initially took on water because of inadequate bilge pumping arrangements and a valve that was left partially open to the sea. As the water level rose in the bilges, the trim increased by the stern, the freeboard reduced, and water accumulated on the deck; water progressively downflooded into the bilges through the unsecured hatch covers. It is imperative that fishing vessel crews know how the bilge pumps on their vessels work, that the pumps be in excellent working order, and that they wear thermal equipment as protection should they have to abandon ship into cold water.

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