Marine investigation M15P0347

Capsizing and sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II

The occurrence

On 25 October 2015, the Leviathan II was on a whale-watching excursion in the Plover Reefs area of Clayoquot Sound, with 27 people on board. The sea conditions in the area were favourable to the formation of breaking waves. As the vessel was leaving the area, a large wave approached the vessel from the starboard quarter. The master became aware of the wave and tried to turn the vessel to minimize the impact, but the wave struck the vessel before these actions could be effective. The vessel broached and rapidly capsized following the impact of the wave, resulting in passengers and crew being thrown into the cold seawater without flotation aids. The subsequent rescue operation recovered 21 survivors, which included 18 passengers and 3 crewmembers. There were six fatalities.

Map of the area

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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TSB 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.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Report

Final report
2017-06-14

Marine Investigation Report M15P0347
Capsizing and loss of life
Leviathan II
Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
25 October 2015

Safety communications

Recommendations
2017-06-15

TSB Recommendation M17-01: The Department of Transport ensure that commercial passenger vessel operators on the west coast of Vancouver Island identify areas and conditions conducive to the formation of hazardous waves and adopt practical risk mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood that a passenger vessel will encounter such conditions.

2017-06-14

TSB Recommendation M17-02: The Department of Transport require commercial passenger vessel operators to adopt explicit risk management processes, and develop comprehensive guidelines to be used by vessel operators and Transport Canada inspectors to assist them in the implementation and oversight of those processes.

2017-06-14

TSB Recommendation M17-03: The Department of Transport expedite the proposed changes to the Navigation Safety Regulations and expand its current emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) carriage requirements to require that all commercial passenger vessels operating beyond sheltered waters carry an EPIRB, or other appropriate equipment that floats free, automatically activates, alerts search-and-rescue resources, and provides continuous position updates and homing-in capabilities.

All Marine recommendations

Media materials

News releases
2017-06-14

TSB recommends improved passenger vessel safety measures following investigation into the fatal 2015 Leviathan II capsizing off Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Read the 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

Backgrounders
2017-06-14

Investigation findings (M15P0347) in the October 2015 capsizing and sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II off Plover Reefs in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Read the backgrounder

2017-06-14

Safety communications for TSB investigation (M15P0347) into the October 2015 capsizing and sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II off Plover Reefs in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Read the backgrounder

Speeches
2017-06-14

News conference for the release of Marine Investigation Report M15P0347 Leviathan II: Opening remarks
Kathy Fox, TSB Chair
Clinton Rebeiro, TSB Investigator-in-Charge
Read the opening remarks

Media advisories
2017-06-12

TSB to hold a news conference to release its investigation report into the October 2015 capsizing and sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II off Plover Reefs in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Read the media advisory

2017-05-31

The TSB will release its final report into the October 2015 capsizing and sinking of the passenger vessel Leviathan II off Plover Reefs in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Read the media advisory

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

Deployment notice
2015-10-25

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