Backgrounders

Backgrounder - Safety Action Taken Following the Running Aground of the Queen of Oak Bay at the Horseshoe Bay Marina, British Columbia, in 2005

On 30 June 2005, while approaching berth No. 1 at Horseshoe Bay, the Queen of Oak Bay, owned and operated by British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries), suffered loss of propulsion. As a result, the vessel lost steerageway, deviated off course and struck 28 pleasure craft berthed in the adjacent marina before running aground. There were no casualties; however, there was considerable damage to the pleasure craft and marina.

On July 11, 2005, the superintendent of the Horseshoe Bay terminal issued a directive to the chief engineers of the vessels in his fleet - and also copied the other BC Ferries superintendents - directing them to launch twice daily inspection routines to verify the integrity of the main engine control linkages. All C Class ferries have also begun stationing a deckhand by the anchor windlass during arrivals and departures.

Further, on July 19, 2005, the TSB sent a Marine Safety Advisory (MSA 03/05) to BC Ferries and copied to Transport Canada Marine Safety and Lloyd's Register, notifying them of the lack of a fail-safe capability on the propulsion system of several C Class vessels including the Queen of Oak Bay. It recommended that BC  Ferries "take whatever action necessary to help ensure that a failure of one engine will not result in the total loss of vessel propulsion." Transport Canada's reply supported the TSB's advice on this issue.

Additionally, on September 7, 2005, the TSB sent a Marine Safety Information letter (MSI 03/05) to BC Ferries and copied to Transport Canada Marine Safety and Lloyd's Register, bringing to their attention various observed anomalies in the geometry and assembly of the governor control linkages. The TSB found that the original position of the link pin allowed for the governor "to produce less torque to move the fuel racks." This in turn "would also increase the sensitivity of the governor."

On January 18, 2007, in response to the MSA and MSI issued by the TSB, BC Ferries reported that it is establishing a range of procedures to manage safety-critical tasks on board, which include inspection guidelines, maintenance procedures, and unplanned repairs. BC Ferries also pointed out that a revision of its Fleet Maintenance Standards is taking place.

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The public report, M05W0111 and the Communiqué are also available on this site.