TSB: Sea state, vessel conditions led to flooding of BC barge

M15p0035 Photo 01

The following is the text of a news release from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB):

(RICHMOND, British Columbia) — In its investigation report (M15P0035) released Monday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada highlighted the lack of safety oversight as a significant risk in the foundering and abandonment involving the self-propelled barge Lasqueti Daughters. Although the vessel was declared a constructive total loss, there were no injuries.

On March 14, 2015, the self-propelled barge, with 17 people on board, departed Campbell River, British Columbia. Partway into the voyage, the sea and wind conditions deteriorated, resulting in water pooling on board and making its way into the forward storage compartment. The vessel began foundering and was subsequently abandoned, however it remained afloat and was eventually towed to shore and intentionally beached.

The investigation determined that the weather and sea conditions encountered by Lasqueti Daughters resulted in water being shipped onto the main deck via the spaces between the bow ramp, the bulwarks and the main deck. Because the main deck, which had been recently replaced, was not watertight, it allowed water to downflood into the forward storage compartment. The investigation also found that the crew attempted to pump out the storage compartments using the onboard pumps; however, the emergency pump did not pump water, likely due to an air lock, and the remaining pumps could not cope with the ingress of water. As the water continued to enter, the vessel began to founder.

In this occurrence, the owner's safety program did not cover the marine transportation of workers and equipment required for silviculture operations. The investigation noted that if a company's health and safety program covers only some of its operations, there is a risk some hazards will not be identified or addressed. Further, if organizations with overlapping areas of responsibility, in this case, WorkSafeBC, the British Columbia Forestry Safety Council and Transport Canada (TC) do not share information and collaborate among themselves as well as with owners and masters, then there is a risk that gaps in safety oversight will occur. The investigation also determined that the vessel did not hold the required TC inspection certificate, nor was there any inspection or verification by TC of the vessel's condition; as such there was no opportunity to identify and address safety deficiencies. The vessel was not operating under a safety management system (SMS), nor was it required to.

The TSB has identified safety management and oversight as a Watchlist issue. As this occurrence demonstrates, some marine operations are not effectively managing their safety risks. The TSB is calling for all operators in the marine industry to have formal safety management processes with oversight conducted by TC. When companies are unable to effectively manage safety, TC must not only intervene, but do so in a manner that succeeds in changing unsafe operating practices.

To view the complete report, click here.

By Professional Mariner Staff