Marine news release 2012

Incomplete communications compromised safe docking of Queen of Coquitlam in November 2011

Gatineau, Quebec, 28 November 2012 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M11W0199) into the 18 November 2011 striking of a berth of the British Columbia Ferry Services (BCFS) Queen of Coquitlam in Departure Bay, Nanaimo, British Columbia.

During the passage from Horseshoe Bay Terminal to Departure Bay Terminal, one of the two main engines of the vessel had to be shut down for mechanical reasons. While work on this engine was being completed, the bow propeller was locked out in the engine room, making it unavailable to the vessel's master and leaving the stern propeller as the only operational propeller. As the Queen of Coquitlam approached Departure Bay, incomplete communications between the engine room and the bridge led to a misunderstanding as to the availability of engines and propellers for docking. With only one propeller available, the master was unable to slow or control the vessel adequately. This resulted in the vessel striking the port-side fender.

The TSB issued a Marine Safety Information Letter (MSI 04/12) to advise BCFS and Transport Canada about the safety issues identified in its investigation. The letter also acknowledged that BCFS has been proactively attempting to rectify these safety issues. BCFS has since implemented new standard operating procedures for reducing speed and has also developed a series of contingency plans and drills to further mitigate the risks involved in the vessel docking phase.


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