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Marine transportation safety investigation M18P0073

This investigation has been completed. The report was released on 25  October 2018.

Table of contents

Sinking of a fishing vessel

Fishing vessel Western Commander
Triple Islands, Dixon Entrance, British Columbia

View final report

The occurrence

On 9 April 2018, the fishing vessel Western Commander, with 3 people on board, began taking on water in Hecate Strait, British Columbia. The vessel's pumps were unable to keep up with the ingress of water nor reduce the port list. The master transmitted a Mayday and the crew prepared to abandon the vessel. While donning the immersion suits, one crew member collapsed and became incapacitated. All crew managed to abandon the vessel and board the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Dauphin. The Western Commander subsequently sank. Two of the crew members survived but one crew member subsequently died.

Media materials

News release


Investigation report: April 2018 sinking and loss of life in Hecate Strait, British Columbia
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Glenn Budden

Glenn Budden has been a Senior Marine Investigator at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada since 2008.

Prior to joining the TSB, Mr. Budden owned and operated a commercial fishing business. He has 35 years' experience in the fishing industry, operating, managing and advising on several types of fishing vessels and fisheries on both coasts. In his later years, in the fishing industry, he facilitated the first industry led stability education program (Fishsafe) to fishermen in British Columbia.

Mr. Budden holds a Fishing Masters II certificate, and his last vessel was the seiner Ocean Venture.

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 4 investigation. These investigations are limited in scope, and while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.