Response to marine safety recommendations – Nathan E. Stewart

Transport Canada’s Response to Marine Safety Recommendations M18-01, M18-02 issued by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada

On August 27, 2018, Transport Canada (TC) released this response to Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s (TSB) investigation report on the 2016 incident near Bella Bella, British Columbia involving the articulated tug-barge Nathan E. Stewart and DBL 55. TC has reviewed the TSB report and has developed responses to the two recommendations.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) Recommendation M18-01

“The Department of Transport require that watchkeepers whose work and rest periods are regulated by the Marine Personnel Regulations receive practical fatigue education and awareness training in order to help identify and prevent the risks of fatigue.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M18-01

Transport Canada (TC) agrees in principle to the TSB's recommendation. TC requires further research and industry engagement to determine the most effective means to address the recommendation.

Transport Canada continues to take an active position to address fatigue in the workplace by collaborating with international partners to update standards and applicable guidance material. At the international level at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) established a correspondence group, coordinated by Australia, to review the amendments to the Guidance on Fatigue proposed in MSC/Circ.1014. A number of IMO Member States participated in the correspondence group, including Canada, Singapore, and the UK. Of note, Transport Canada would like to acknowledge the work of the Transportation Safety Board representing Canadian interests on this subject.

Recently, the HTW Sub-Committee requested that the Maritime Safety Committee extend the target completion year for the output to 2018. With this additional time Member States and international organizations have submitted relevant proposals for consideration to HTW 5, to be held in July 2018. To this end, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand submitted a joint paper titled, Revision of the Guidelines on Fatigue (HTW 5/8) which proposes amendments to the Guidance on Fatigue Mitigation and Management, published June 12, 2001. This updated guidance material is intended to support and assist companies in making informed decisions regarding appropriate and usable approaches to managing the risks of fatigue in their respective operations.

Following the outcome of the HTW correspondence group, which is expected at the end of 2018, Transport Canada will review the findings of the international body and implement changes using the most appropriate regulatory instrument.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada Recommendation M18-02

“The Department of Transport require vessel owners whose watchkeepers’ work and rest periods are regulated by the Marine Personnel Regulations to implement a comprehensive fatigue management plan tailored specifically for their operation, to reduce the risk of fatigue.”

Transport Canada response to recommendation M18-02

Transport Canada (TC) agrees in part with the Board’s recommendation. TC is presently exploring a full range of possible solutions to reduce the risk of fatigue with international partners at the International Maritime Organization.

Effective implementation, compliance and enforcement of an updated fatigue management framework requires a coordinated international effort as foreign vessels, such as the Nathan E. Stewart, routinely transit through Canadian waters whose certification and training is governed by the flagged state of the vessel.

Presently, Canadian marine regulatory requirements related to fatigue are aligned with international requirements set out in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW) and the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, which specify hours of rest and training for seafarers. Amendments to the Marine Personnel Regulations are now underway that implement updated STCW mandatory training on fatigue management, through training in Leadership and Teamwork and Leadership and Managerial Skills, for masters and officers on vessels of 500 gross tonnage or more seeking a Canadian certificate of competency.

Furthermore, following the revision of the Guidance on Fatigue Mitigation and Management at the IMO, which is expected at the end of 2018, Transport Canada will review the findings of the international body and implement changes using the most appropriate regulatory instrument which takes into account that the Marine Personnel Regulations regulate work and rest periods on vessels of significantly different length, varying crewing profiles based on functions carried out onboard and operate in waters ranging from sheltered to unlimited waters. Ultimately, this work will directly influence Transport Canada’s approach regarding the TSB recommendation to implement a comprehensive fatigue management plan in whole or in part.