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News release

International action for safe mooring spurred by TSB investigation into 2017 fatal accident at the Port of Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Associated links (M17C0060)

Québec, Quebec, 18 April 2018 –  The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its report (M17C0060) into the May 2017 fatal mooring accident that occurred on board the bulk carrier Nord Quebec at the Port of Trois-Rivières, Quebec. The report highlights the safety hazards and prevalence of occurrences related to mooring operations on board merchant vessels and describes the actions that have been taken internationally to improve guidance and raise awareness of the risks involved.

On 22 May 2017, while the bulk carrier Nord Quebec was berthing at section 16 of the Port of Trois-Rivières, the second officer and the bosun were tasked to deploy two forward mooring ropes, being used as forward spring lines, while a team of linesmen on the dock put these on the dock bollards. After the spring lines became caught under one of the dock's rubber fenders, the second officer leaned over the vessel handrail on the main deck to visually assess the situation. He briefly stepped back upon hearing a warning from a linesman, but leaned over the handrail again shortly after. As the vessel's hull moved away from the rubber fender and the spring lines were freed, the energy stored in their synthetic fibers caused them to snap upward in a slingshot motion along the vessel's side shell plating. The first spring line went above the main deck handrail, fatally injuring the second officer.

From 2007 to 2017, 24 occurrences (including this one) involving mooring operations in Canada on domestic and foreign-flagged vessels were reported to the TSB. In these occurrences, 24 persons sustained serious injuries and two were fatally injured. Several other occurrences due to mooring have also been reported internationally.

Following the Nord Quebec occurrence, the TSB sent a Marine Safety Information Letter to various stakeholders, demonstrating the international profile of safety issues related to mooring operations. The letter served to inform the work of the International Maritime Organization's subcommittee responsible for amending the mooring provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and for drafting new guidelines for safe mooring operations. The management company of the occurrence vessel launched a campaign to raise awareness and promote mooring operations risk assessments. The Transport Safety Investigation Bureau of Singapore, where the vessel is registered, has also issued safety information on mooring-related risks.

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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-360-4376