Marine news release 2008

TSB # M01/2008

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA FINDS UNSAFE PRACTICES ON BC FERRIES QUEEN OF THE NORTH

(Gatineau, Quebec, March 12, 2008) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released today its final report (M06W0052) into the sinking of the BC Ferries Queen of the North, which occurred on March 22, 2006 at Gil Island, Wright Sound, British Columbia.

"Essentially, the system failed that night. Sound watchkeeping practices were not followed and the bridge watch lacked a third certified person," said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "The recommendations we are making today go beyond the cause of this sinking to ensure that Canadians will always reach port safely. Passengers are the focus of our first two recommendations. In an emergency, all passengers must be accounted for and evacuated to safety. Our third recommendation calls for voyage data recorders on all of Canada's large vessels," she added.

At 08:00 p.m. on March 21, 2006, the passenger and vehicle ferry Queen of the North departed Prince Rupert, British Columbia, for Port Hardy, British Columbia. On board were 59 passengers and 42 crew members. After entering Wright Sound from Grenville Channel, the vessel struck the northeast side of Gil Island at 12:21 a.m. on March 22.

The vessel sustained extensive damage to its hull, lost its propulsion, and drifted for 1 hour and 17 minutes before it sank in 430 m of water. Passengers and crew abandoned the vessel before it sank. Two passengers were unaccounted for after the abandonment and have since been declared dead.

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.

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The backgrounder, the photo gallery, the simulation, final report M06W0052, and all previously published material about this occurrence can be found on this website. The webcast of the news conference can also be viewed.


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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
819-994-8053