Marine news release 2012

Unidentified risk and unaddressed safety issues put fishing vessel crews at risk

Gatineau, Quebec, 16 May 2012—In its latest investigation report on Silver Angel (M11M0017), released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has identified, once again, that the absence of a practical and active risk management system onboard a fishing vessel continues to result in loss of life.

On the morning of 3 May 2011, at 5.5 nautical miles southwest of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, a crew member from the small fishing vessel Silver Angel fell overboard while retrieving paravane stabilizers. The captain, the only other crew member onboard, made several unsuccessful attempts to rescue the crew member who was lost at sea.

"Our investigation found that the deckhand was not wearing safety equipment and this significantly reduced his chances of survival and rescue," said Pierre Murray, TSB Regional Manager. "The captain was left alone onboard the vessel and was unable to carry out all of the activities necessary to position the vessel and recover the deckhand from the water."

Since the accident, the company has made changes to the safe operation of its vessels. As an example, the company has provided water-activated inflatable Personal Floatation Device (PFD) vests for each crew member on its vessels, and has issued a directive for all crew members to wear a PFD when working on board its vessels.

Loss of life on fishing vessels was identified as a TSB Watchlist issue. Industry needs to adopt and promote safe operating procedures to address ongoing risks on fishing vessels.


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