Inadequate stability information led to the March 2017 capsizing and sinking of the fishing vessel Miss Cory in British Columbia
Richmond, British Columbia, 18 June 2018 – In its investigation report (M17P0052) released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) determined that inadequate vessel stability information led to the capsizing and sinking of the fishing vessel Miss Cory in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, in March 2017. One of the vessel's crewmembers was reported missing.
On 6 March 2017, the fishing vessel Miss Cory was purse seining for herring with 5 people on board. After a successful catch, the crew lifted the net using the vessel's boom to transfer the fish from the net into a packing vessel. While waiting for additional packing vessels to arrive, the vessel leaned to starboard to the point where the vessel's rubbing strake was submerged. Water likely entered the vessel from behind the rubbing strake, making its way into the aft hold and causing further leaning to starboard. The crew unsuccessfully attempted to dewater the vessel, unaware that a capsizing situation was developing. The crew on deck abandoned the vessel in the final seconds before it capsized and sank. The engineer, who was below deck, was possibly unaware of the situation and was unable to escape the sinking vessel.
The investigation determined that the combined effects of the weight of the fish in the net and the progressive downflooding of the compartments in the Miss Cory caused it to heel over and capsize. The attention on the task of dewatering the vessel likely affected the master's ability to maintain situational awareness and make use of alternate strategies to manage the vessel's stability or initiate procedures to safely abandon ship.
The vessel had not undergone a stability assessment for operations using its boom. As such, there were no means for the master to recognize that the vessel would rapidly capsize with a boom load of 5-7 long tons. Fishing vessel stability information is a key concern in the TSB Watchlist issue of Commercial Fishing Safety. There are also two outstanding Board recommendations (M94-33 and M16-02) regarding the adequacy of fishing vessel stability information.
The investigation also found that there were no procedures for the safe operation of the vessel or for dealing with emergencies. The crew did not practice emergency drills on board the vessel, though they discussed the muster list and associated emergency duties. The
uncoordinated abandonment of the vessel led to one crewmember remaining in the engine room when the vessel capsized, who was subsequently reported missing. If formalized emergency procedures are not practiced in drills, there is a risk that an emergency response will be delayed or uncoordinated, potentially endangering the safety of the crew and the vessel.
Following the occurrence, Fish Safe facilitated the development of a code of best practices for the roe herring fishery to address unsafe work practices that continue to put fishermen and vessels at risk. WorkSafeBC will enhance inspections in the commercial fishing industry, focusing on vessel stability documentation, emergency drills and procedures.
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