Marine news release 2009

TSB # M01/2009

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA AGAIN FINDS THAT STABILITY IS THE NUMBER ONE SAFETY ISSUE FOR FISHING VESSELS

(Gatineau, Quebec, March 3, 2009) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released marine investigation reports into two more fishing vessel accidents. One was the capsizing and loss of life aboard the Sea Urchin (M07N0117) that occurred on November 4, 2007 in Newman Sound, Newfoundland and Labrador. The other was the capsizing and loss of life aboard the Big Sister (M07M0088) that occurred on November 13, 2007 in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.

The stability of small fishing vessels is often compromised and, without a full assessment, crews will continue to place themselves and their vessels at risk. "These accidents keep happening and communities continue to lose lives to the sea because the stability of their vessels has not been assessed," said Captain Pierre Murray, TSB's Manager of Marine Investigations, Atlantic Region.

The safety issues found in both the Sea Urchin and the Big Sister are the same issues the Board focused on in its investigation into the 2004 capsizing of the Ryan's Commander. Before that, in its investigation into the capsizing of the Cap Rouge II, the Board recommended that the Department of Transport:

  • require all new inspected small fishing vessels of closed construction to submit stability data for approval (M03-05).
  • require all existing inspected small fishing vessels currently without any approved stability data be subjected to a roll period test and corresponding freeboard verification not later than their next scheduled quadrennial inspection (M03-06).
  • in collaboration with the fishing community, reduce unsafe practices by means of a code of best practices for small fishing vessels, including loading and stability, and that its adoption be encouraged through effective education and awareness programs (M03-07).

"After these two latest accidents, the time has come for all to take concrete action to make Canada's fishing industry safer," Captain Murray added.

The TSB will continue to monitor progress on these important recommendations.


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