Bulletin No.: 18/1994

Date (Y-M-D): 1994-11-28

Subject: Vessels Sinking at Dock

This Bulletin is issued for the particular attention of Owners/Operators of tugs and fishing vessels, since recent sinkings alongside docks have involved these types of vessels.

The most recent sinking was of a large fishing vessel and resulted in one fatality. It highlights the fact that vigilance should not be tied up when the vessel is. Prior to leaving the vessel unattended, the following points should be considered.

  1. Ensure any encumbrances, for example trawl doors, towing gear etc. are stowed in such a way that they cannot hold down the vessel on a rising tide against a quay which has open framing.
  2. Similarly, the vessel should be moored such that it cannot be entrapped by its own mooring lines on a rising tide, and mooring lines checked regularly. Also, a check should be made of the dock to ensure that there is no protruding structure on which lines could become caught at low tide.
  3. Because of the ever present danger that a vessel can be entrapped as described herein, it would be prudent to ensure that all watertight doors are closed when the vessel is unattended even when tied up. In addition, all overboard discharges should be verified closed.

    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.

The above measures should help prevent expensive losses, and in one instance could have contributed to saving a man's life.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Sinking
2. Moored
3. Downflooding
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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