The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its final marine investigation report into the collision between the Canadian fishing vessel Viking Storm and the American fishing vessel Maverick 30 nautical miles off La Push, Wash.
On Sept. 28, 2012, the Viking Storm collided with the Maverick in thick fog 30 nautical miles off La Push. The Maverick capsized and sank from the impact; three of the four crew members on board survived and were rescued by the Viking Storm. The fourth crew member was never found and is presumed drowned.
The investigation found that the Maverick had been drifting overnight without a crew member on lookout duty. It also found that the mate of the Viking Storm, because of accumulated fatigue, had not maintained a proper watch by all available means and had left the wheelhouse unattended just prior to the collision. It also determined that the high-pressure sodium lights on the Viking Storm had impaired the vision and the ability of the deckhand on the Maverick to determine the vessel's proximity and delayed his taking of evasive action. It finally noted that no sound signals were used by either vessel despite restricted visibility.
This accident illustrates how safety issues within the fishing community are complex and interrelated, as described in the TSB's Safety Issues Investigation (SII) into Fishing Safety in Canada. It categorizes 10 significant safety issues, as well as complex relationships and interdependencies among them.
In this accident, six of the 10 issues raised in the SII were at play. These were: fatigue, regulatory approach to safety, training, information distribution, cost of safety and unsafe work practices.
Until the complex relationship and interdependency among safety issues within the fishing community is understood and addressed, the safety of fishermen will continue to be at risk, and remain on the TSB Safety Watchlist.