Bulletin No.: 16/1996

Date (Y-M-D): 1996-11-14

Subject: Vessel Stability and Seaworthiness

In light of a recent casualty investigation into flooding and capsizing of a Canadian fishing vessel, this Bulletin is directed to Owners/Operators of Canadian fishing vessels. A number of factors, inter alia, contributed to this accident:

The vessel was left unattended at the wharf in a listed condition, water ingress to the shelter-deck occurred through the open gate valve for the conveyor well.

Although the vessel's shelter-deck was known to flood through the overboard discharge line to the conveyor well, the practice of keeping the gate valve on the line open, when not in use, continued, until this tragic incident.

The shelter-deck then flooded by way of the open overboard drain valve to the conveyor well and of the non-watertight covers/openings to the holds/tanks.

Modification made to the vessel affecting her stability was not reported to the Ship Safety office.

In addition to the aforementioned, the evidence of recent investigations into the sinking of fishing vessels had indicated that Owners/Operators often carry out structural modifications which adversely affect vessel stability, but fail to notify the Ship Safety Branch. In order to prevent similar accidents, masters and ship owners are reminded of their responsibilities as follows:

  1. To report to the Chairman any alterations or modifications to the hull, equipment or machinery, affecting compliance with regulations as required under the Canada Shipping Act, Section 377 (2). All structural modifications and the additions of weight items must be recorded and accounted for in reassessing the stability of fishing vessels.

  2. To properly monitor the vessel safety whilst alongside and in an operational mode.

  3. Trawler doors to be properly stored.

  4. In the case of fishing vessels, ballast systems that are cross-connected to processing plants should have all necessary valves closed when not in use to prevent downflooding.

  5. To ensure that all watertight doors are closed when the vessel is unattended even when tied up.

Failure to abide by these obligations could jeopardize the safety of the vessel and its crew. Furthermore, masters and owners may be held responsible for the consequences.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Fishing vessel
2. Downflooding
3. Fish conveyor well discharge
L. Ayeko
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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