Canadian transport safety board issues report on fatal sinking of fishing vessel Island Lady

Canadian transport safety board issues report on fatal sinking of fishing vessel Island Lady

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) recently released its investigation report into the fatal sinking of the fishing vessel Island Lady in the Labrador Sea in September 2021.

The TSB's investigation into this occurrence could not determine with certainty the cause of the disappearance of Island Lady or its two-person crew.

The TSB said it is likely that the vessel sank and that both crewmembers entered the water unexpectedly.

The vessel or crew did not carry any operable distress alerting devices and there was no distress call received from the vessel. This resulted in a delay in search and rescue (SAR) efforts being initiated and a large search area, greatly reducing the crew's chance of survival.

The investigation also revealed that while Island Lady was registered with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as a requirement of the licence to harvest marine resources, it was not registered with Transport Canada.

The TSB's recent investigation into the sinking of the fishing vessel Sarah Anne identified that a large number of fishing vessels are operating in a similar manner.

As a result, the TSB issued a recommendation that DFO require all commercial fishing vessels to have a current and accurate Transport Canada registration.

The TSB also noted that accurate vessel registration gives Transport Canada an opportunity to provide safety oversight and make available up to date information to SAR authorities.

The TSB said the issue of commercial fishing safety has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2010. Despite various initiatives underway to enhance the safety culture within the commercial fishing industry, the same deficiencies on board fishing vessels continue to be found.

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