The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released the cause of a BC Ferries accident that caused two crew members and a rescue boat to fall overboard during a training drill in 2018.
On August 31, 2018, multiple sailings between Swartz Bay and Tswassen were cancelled after two crew members were injured during a training exercise, one seriously.
According to the TSB, the accident was caused when a rescue boat hoist cable snapped, causing the rescue boat and two crew members to fall approximately 36 feet (11 metres) into the ocean below.
Investigators say that the hoist cable snapped because a secondonday hoist rope was not outfitted with enough working length, thus forcing too much pressure on one side of the hoist and on the rescue boat itself as the boat was being raised.
The BC Ferries vessel, the Queen of Cumberland, had insufficient rope length due to equipment changes during a mid-life service upgrade in 2016, found the TSB.
The short rope is believed to have been installed in 2016, when some equipment was changed during the mid-life upgrade.
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Since then, investigators found that some maintenance and updates were not made to the Queen of Cumberland, causing the dangerously short rope length to be overlooked.
Additionally, the TSB found that crew on board did not have a full understanding of how the new divot hoist worked at the time, with some believing that the hoist operated the same as the equipment installed before the 2016 replacement.
“… although BC Ferries identified some of the missing updates, others went unidentified and unresolved,” reads the TSB report.
Since the 2018 accident, BC Ferries has changed policies to increase overall safety.
Personnel are now restricted from being on board a rescue boat while it is being raised or lowered, except for during an emergency, and updated training on the operation of rescue boats, davits, and ship maintenance has been undertaken.