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Marine transportation safety investigation M18A0454

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 24 February 2021.

Table of contents

Downflooding and sinking

Fishing vessel Atlantic Sapphire
Georges Bank, Nova Scotia

View final report

The occurrence

On , at approximately 2300 Atlantic Standard Time, the fishing vessel Atlantic Sapphire sank off Georges Bank, Nova Scotia. At the time, there were 3 crew members on board. The master broadcast a distress message and each crew member donned an immersion suit and evacuated into a life raft as the vessel sank. A nearby fishing vessel responded to the distress message and rescued the crew members from the life raft. Over 11 000 L of fuel on was on board when the vessel sank. There were no injuries and the vessel was a total loss.

Media materials

News release


Sinking of Atlantic Sapphire highlights recurring safety deficiencies in the commercial fishing industry
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Jeremy Ros

Jeremy Ross joined the TSB in 2018 in the Atlantic region of the Marine branch. Jeremy holds a Master certificate, Near Coastal and has a bachelor’s degree in navigation as well as one in science (Biology).

Jeremy has worked for the Canadian Coast Guard since 1999, and more specifically for Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Halifax since 2009.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

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 air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.