News release

Recurrent blackouts leading to loss of steering caused passenger ferry Beaumont Hamel to strike the wharf at Portugal Cove in May 2012

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 24 September 2013 — Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (M12N0017) into the blackout and subsequent wharf striking by the passenger vessel Beaumont Hamel in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador.

On 30 May 2012, the passenger ferry Beaumont Hamel experienced an electrical failure resulting in a loss of propulsion and steering while approaching Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, and struck the wharf. The vessel sustained damage to the bow visor and caused minor damage to the wharf. One minor injury was reported.

The investigation determined that the vessel had a history of electrical failures and on the day of the accident, the blackout caused the vessel to lose propulsion and steering while docking and it struck the wharf at Portugal Cove. Previous repairs had been made to address the mechanical cause of the blackouts; however, the risks that were identified after each occurrence were ineffectively mitigated. The operator, the Department of Transportation and Works of Newfoundland and Labrador (DTW), had a safety management system in place that was not effective at managing the operational risks posed by the recurring blackouts.

Since the accident, the DTW has installed a computerized maintenance management system on the Beaumont Hamel and in its company office. This system tracks corrective maintenance, sends alerts about planned maintenance and, based on the corrective and the planned maintenance, can suggest preventative maintenance. As well, the generator engine fuel pumps were overhauled and calibrated.


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