Response to marine safety recommendations – Caledonian

Transport Canada’s response to marine safety recommendations M16-01, M16-02, M16-03, M16-05 issued by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada

On March 19, 2018, Transport Canada (TC) released this revised response to Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s (TSB) investigation report on the 2015 accident in Nootka Sound, British Columbia. That accident involved the fishing vessel Caledonian. The TSB report included five safety recommendations, four of which were for consideration by TC.

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Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommendation M16-01

“The Department of Transport establish standards for all new and existing large fishing vessels to ensure that the stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M16-01

Transport Canada agrees in principle with the recommendation. All new and existing large fishing vessels are required to have adequate stability information as is outlined below and must update it when the information changes. The standard practice for stability places the accountability on the master who is trained on stability issues to provide direction to the crew. Given the TSB’s input, Transport Canada will consult with the large fishing vessel industry regarding the feasibility of requiring a stability notice or other means to make stability information more readily available to the crew. Consultations related to Fishing Vessel Regulations Phase 3, which will implement the IMO Cape Town Agreement, will provide a good opportunity to do this.

For the fishing vessel Caledonian, there was a discrepancy between the vessel’s stability information and the actual operations and configuration of the vessel (lightship weight increase, tanks, net drum and trawl configuration changes and reduced freeboard). This may have been avoided had the requirements of the Large Fishing Vessel Inspections Regulations (LFVIR) and the recommendation in Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) 01/2008 Fishing Vessel Safety: Record of Modifications, been followed by the vessel’s authorized representative (AR).

Therefore, to remind vessel operators of their responsibilities, increase awareness, and foster compliance, TC will review and reissue SSB 01/2008. This bulletin will be updated and include emphasis on the importance of having accurate stability information and operational procedures. The revised bulletin will be re-issued in spring 2018.

New requirements, as well as potential changes to look and feel of stability information, will be considered for inclusion in the LFVIR to address this issue. This will be undertaken as part of the phased approach to changes to the regulations governing fishing vessels. Phase 1 is complete. Phase 2 (addressing construction requirements for small fishing vessels) is underway. Phase 3 (safety requirements for large fishing vessels) will begin once phase 2 is complete and will introduce the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Cape Town Agreement of 2012. In this context, TC will consider the mandatory requirement for a stability notice for large fishing vessels.

During any inspection conducted in accordance with requirements of the LFVIR, an inspector may review the vessels stability information and require Authorized Representatives (AR) to comply with any observed nonconformities. Therefore:

  • TC, when providing instructional information to inspectors/surveyors as part of its training program, will place renewed emphasis on this aspect of vessel inspection.
  • In addition, a Flagstatenet instruction to inspectors/surveyors will be issued regarding the review of the Fishing Vessel Modification History (as detailed in SSB 01/2008) as part of the TC procedure for inspecting and monitoring fishing vessels. The Flagstatenet will be sent before the start of the next fishing season in spring 2018.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommendation M16-02

“The Department of Transport establish standards for all small fishing vessels that have had a stability assessment to ensure their stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M16-02

Transport Canada (TC) agrees with the recommendation. As of July 13, 2017, small fishing vessels required to undergo a mandatory stability assessment (new vessels, vessels that have undergone major modifications or a change in fishing activities) will be required to have a stability notice posted onboard. Grandfathered vessels will be required to have a stability notice if the vessel stability needs to be reassessed at some future time.

To remind vessel operators of their responsibilities, increase awareness and foster compliance, TC will review and reissue Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) 01/2008. This bulletin will be updated and include emphasis on the importance of having accurate stability information and operational procedures. The revised bulletin will be sent before the start of the next fishing season in spring 2018.

During any inspection conducted in accordance with requirements of the FVSR, an inspector may review the vessels stability information and require Authorized Representatives (AR) comply with any observed nonconformities. Therefore:

  • TC, when providing instructional information to inspectors/surveyors as part of its training program, will place renewed emphasis on this aspect of vessel inspection.
  • In addition, a Flagstatenet instruction to inspectors/surveyors will be issued regarding the review of the Fishing Vessel Modification History (as detailed in SSB 01/2008) as part of the TC procedure for inspecting and monitoring fishing vessels. The Flagstatenet will be sent prior to the start of the next fishing season in spring 2018.

TC will update its fishing vessel safety webpages to provide information on how to obtain Stability Notice templates. Samples of Stability Notices including guidelines on how to complete the templates will also be made available. These template have already been presented to the fishing vessel stakeholders at the Transport Canada national Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC). These will also be provided to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) upon completion.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommendation M16-03

“The Department of Transport require that all small fishing vessels undergo a stability assessment and establish standards to ensure that the stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M16-03

Transport Canada agrees in part with the recommendation. As of July 13, 2017, small fishing vessels required to undergo a mandatory stability assessment (new vessels, vessels that have undergone major modifications or a change in fishing activities) will be required to have a stability notice posted onboard. SSB 03/2017 indicates which vessels are required to undergo a stability assessment, including certain existing vessels.

Transport Canada does not agree that all small fishing vessels should undergo a stability assessment at this time. As highlighted in the Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement prepared for Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations Phase 1, the volume of work required to assess all fishing vessels would be functionally challenging and prohibitively expensive for the industry. The Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management requires that the cost of a regulation not outweigh its benefits and should minimize the burden on small business.

To promote mandatory compliance for those vessels required to have a stability notice, and in order to encourage voluntary action for those vessels not required to undergo a mandatory stability assessment, TC will update its fishing vessel safety webpages to provide information on how to obtain stability notice templates. Samples of stability notices including guidelines on how to complete the templates will also be made available. The content of the webpages have been developed and will be prepared for publication in the spring of 2018. These will also be provided to the TSB upon completion.

TC anticipates that these changes, developed through industry consultation, will have a positive impact.

The AR of a small fishing vessel is responsible for ensuring stability requirements are met. To remind vessel operators of their responsibilities, increase awareness and foster compliance, TC will review and reissue SSB 01/2008. This bulletin will be updated to include more information concerning small fishing vessels and emphasize the importance of having accurate stability information and usable guides, and updating operational procedures to account for changes that may affect stability.

During any inspection conducted in accordance with requirements of the SFVIR, an inspector may review the vessels stability information and require ARs comply with any observed nonconformities. Therefore:

  • TC, when providing instructional information to inspectors/surveyors as part of its training program, will place renewed emphasis on this aspect of vessel inspection.
  • In addition, a Flagstatenet instruction to inspectors/surveyors will be issued regarding the review of the Fishing Vessel Modification History (as detailed in SSB 01/2008) as part of the TC procedure for inspecting and monitoring fishing vessels. The Flagstatenet will be sent prior to the start of the next fishing season in spring 2018.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommendation M16-05

“The Department of Transport require persons to wear suitable personal flotation devices at all times when on the deck of a commercial fishing vessel or when on board a commercial fishing vessel without a deck or deck structure and that the Department of Transport ensure programs are developed to confirm compliance.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M16-05

Transport Canada (TC) agrees in principle with the recommendation.

The new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations require that no person shall operate, or permit another person to operate, a fishing vessel in environmental conditions or circumstances that could jeopardize the safety of persons onboard unless a lifejacket or PFD is worn by all persons onboard, in the case of a fishing vessel that has no deck or deck structure, or by all persons on the deck or in the cockpit, in the case of a fishing vessel that has a deck or deck structure.

The current TC compliance and inspection regime is limited to verifying regulatory compliance while vessels are in port. Authorized Representative's (AR) also have a responsibility to develop safe operating procedures and to confirm compliance onboard the vessel. Therefore, TC will consider the feasibility of alternative options for compliance such as delegating to other departments / agencies who interact with vessels on the water; creating a requirement for operators to do spot checks and/ or audits to demonstrate compliance. The review will be completed by March 2020.

In the meantime, TC will continue educational and awareness efforts to encourage compliance. TC promotes and encourages the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFDs) or lifejackets through educational initiatives to increase awareness of their importance in reducing loss of life, and through continuing to work with stakeholders and industry on new standards for more wearable flotation devices. Such initiatives include:

  • Promoting and supporting innovative performance based standards for more wearable lifejackets. This initiative began with the development of the Canadian Lifejacket Standard, CGSB 65.7-2007, and continues with TC’s support of the new bi-national North American lifejacket standard, UL-12402, which will include increased design options for manufacturers to provide more comfortable and wearable devices.
  • Ship Safety Bulletin 06/2012, Wearing and Using Flotation Devices, Small Non-Pleasure Craft & Small Commercial Fishing Vessels which allows, in certain situations, the use of more wearable flotation devices in lieu of traditional lifejackets designed for ship abandonment. The Ship Safety Bulletin requires that, where this option is used, personal flotation devices must be worn by crew on deck at all times.