News release

Unfamiliarity of route contributed to July 2014 grounding of the bulk carrier Amakusa Island in Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 14 September 2015 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M14P0150) into the 14 July 2014 grounding of the bulk carrier Amakusa Island in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. There were no injuries or pollution, but the vessel sustained damage to its hull.

The Amakusa Island, under the conduct of a pilot, ran aground on a charted shoal while approaching an anchorage approximately 11 nautical miles southwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The vessel was refloated on the rising tide approximately 4 hours after the grounding.

The investigation found that shortly after the master-pilot exchange prior to departure, the vessel's charterer directed the master to anchor, as some issues regarding the vessel's cargo needed to be resolved prior to commencing the voyage to Japan. The Prince Rupert Port Authority assigned Anchorage 25 to the vessel. Neither the master nor the pilot had previously been to that anchorage, which is southwest of the vessel's departure position. The route to the anchorage passed in proximity to a charted shoal that was too shallow for the vessel. This shoal was not detected by the bridge team while planning the revised route or while monitoring the vessel's progress. Additionally, the pilot's portable pilotage unit was not configured with all of the available route planning and monitoring features to assist in detecting navigational hazards.

Following the occurrence, the Canadian Hydrographic Service updated the chart used in this occurrence. British Columbia Coast Pilots Ltd. reached an agreement with the Pacific Pilotage Authority to require pilots to undergo mandatory assessments at least once every 5 years and improved programs to monitor pilots' familiarity of the areas under their jurisdiction. For its part, the Amakusa Island's management company installed an electronic chart display and information system on board the vessel and initiated training for the crew on various aspects of human performance.


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