Marine investigation M15P0347

Sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II

The occurrence

On 25 October 2015, the passenger vessel Leviathan II departed Tofino at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on a whale watching tour. There were 24 passengers and 3 crew members on board. Around 3:45 p.m. PDT, the vessel experienced problems and took on water. There were six fatalities. The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Ann towed the vessel to the north side of Vargas Island.

Map of the area

Completed and ongoing work (updated 2016-03-31)

Investigators have completed their examination of the vessel, including measurement of its void tanks, bulkheads, and fuel tanks, for comparison with the existing plans. The vessel's hull has also been surveyed using 3D laser scanning technology, and a computer model will be developed using this information.

The investigation team is also conducting a review of the vessel's inspection history and shipyard work orders, and is reviewing information obtained from the Search and Rescue officials.

The first round of interviews with the company, survivors and relatives, has also been completed, though follow-up interviews may occur where necessary.

Investigators are also collecting additional information on environmental and weather data, as well as existing lifesaving equipment requirements.

Data has been extracted from navigational equipment and personal cameras that were sent to the TSB Laboratory.

The TSB has released custody of the vessel to the insurer.

The investigation is ongoing. Investigators are finalizing the vessel stability and survivability assessments and are beginning the report phase.

Communication of safety deficiencies

Investigations are complex and we take the time we need to complete a thorough investigation. However, should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, the Board will communicate them without delay so they may be addressed quickly.

Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Clinton Rebeiro

Clinton Rebeiro started his career as a Deck Officer and currently holds a Transport Canada Master Mariner Certificate of Competency. In his 25 years of experience in the marine industry, Mr. Rebeiro has worked in several positions, both sea-going and shore bases, with ExxonMobil, Shell, and BC Ferries. His experience includes working with tankers, LNG carriers, and Ro-Ro passenger ferries, as well as piloting, commercial operations and ship vetting.

Photos

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Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

Statistics

From January 1, 2010, to October 24, 2015, there were 23 reportable occurrences (of which eight were accidents) involving whale watching vessels in Canada. None was fatal, but five of the accidents involved serious injuries in a total of six people.

Thirteen of these reportable occurrences took place in British Columbia. Six of the occurrences were accidents; four of them involved serious injuries, affecting five people.

Before 2010, there were two fatal accidents in Canada involving whale-watching vessels, resulting in four fatalities and three serious injuries. Both accidents, one in 1998 and the other in 1992, were in British Columbia (see marine investigation reports M98W0045 and M92W1031). The whale-watching vessel involved in the marine investigation M98W0045 sank and the whale-watching vessel involved in the marine investigation M92W1031 capsized.


Media

Deployment notices
 
2015-10-25

TSB deploying a team of investigators to a marine accident in Tofino, British Columbia
Read the deployment notice

2015-10-27

TSB will provide an update on its investigation into the accident involving the passenger vessel Leviathan II near Tofino, British Columbia
Read the media advisory

2015-10-26

TSB will hold a news briefing on its investigation into the accident involving the passenger vessel Leviathan II near Tofino, British Columbia
Read the media advisory

News release
 
2015-10-30

Latest information about the TSB investigation into the accident involving the passenger vessel Leviathan II
Read the news release

2015-10-27

Update about the TSB investigation into the accident involving the passenger vessel Leviathan II near Tofino, British Columbia
Read the news release

2015-10-26

TSB launches investigation into the accident involving the passenger vessel Leviathan II near Tofino, British Columbia
Read the news release