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Fishing Vessel Stability A Draft Guideline Harvey Linton, Industry Services Manager Shane Neifer, OSO, Fish Team Leader 1975, the Bravado Sank crossing Hecate Straits, light with net on the drum 7 lives lost Coroner and jury recommends: Inspection should include stability

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Fishing Vessel Stability

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Fishing Vessel Stability

A Draft Guideline

Harvey Linton, Industry Services Manager

Shane Neifer, OSO, Fish Team Leader

background the human case
1975, the Bravado

Sank crossing Hecate Straits, light with net on the drum

7 lives lost

Coroner and jury recommends:

Inspection should include stability

Modifications that effect stability be reported

Stability criteria down to 40 feet (from 80)

Modifications recorded and reported

BackgroundThe Human Case
background the human case3
1997, the Pacific Charmer

Sank in Georgia Strait while trawling for herring

5 persons on board, 3 rescued, 2 died

Corners jury recommended

Any major modifications or changes to vessel’s weight that effect stability be documented and forwarded to proper authorities

BackgroundThe Human Case
background the human case4
2002, the Cap Rouge II

Returning to Fraser River from fishing

7 people on board, 2 children. Only two adult survivors

Corner and jury recommendations

Current vessels without stability data have roll period test and freeboard verification

Fishing stability taught in a manner understandable to fishermen

BackgroundThe Human Case
background the human case5
2002, the Cap Rouge II (cont)

All vessels at risk undergo a full inclining experiment and provide complete instructions to master

Safe maximum load line placed on every vessel

Addition of a maintenance modification log documenting changes to the vessel, remaining with the vessel for life

30 years, same recommendations

BackgroundThe Human Case
background the human case6
BackgroundThe Human Case

Fatalities, Claims & Participation: 1991 - 2003

background the human case7
BackgroundThe Human Case

Fishing Percentages of BC Workforce

background the human case8
BackgroundThe Human Case

Fatalities by Gear Type 1991 – 2001

85% Drown

background the human case10
Summary of the Human Case

85% of fishing fatalities are from drowning or being lost at sea

About 50% of these result from vessels sinking or capsizing

A ‘good’ year (1997) 1 in 7238 fishermen died

A ‘bad’ year (2001) 1 in 1425 fishermen died

Last year (2004) 1 in 1214 fishermen died

Industry wrongly accepts this high fatality rate as part of the “life at sea”!

BackgroundThe Human Case
background the financial case
In 2000, Mike Ross Senior Operating Officer Fishing

Initiate cross divisional review of fishing industry activities

WCB forgives approximately $35 million in unfunded liability

Introduce 6 CU’s to replace the single CU

Addressed areas of revenue leakage

BackgroundThe Financial Case
background the financial case12
In Fishing, fatalities are claims cost driver (injuries drive claim costs in other industries)

Approximately 43% of fishing fatal claims result from unstable fishing vessels

Since 2000, back to unfunded liability

BackgroundThe Financial Case
background the financial case13
BackgroundThe Financial Case
  • Financial State of Fishing CUs
background the legal case
A Brief History

1991 Supreme Court of Canada denies appeal of Ontario Labour Board decision determining that “business of fishing” falls to provincial jurisdiction

January 1995, WCB of BC introduces Canada’s first and only Provincial fishing specific safety regulation

Spring 2002, WCB and Transport Canada enter into an MOU on jurisdiction on fishing vessel safety

BackgroundThe Legal Case
background the legal case15
OHSR Stability related requirements:

S.24.70 Fishing vessels maintained in a seaworthy condition

S.24.71(2) The owner must ensure that major modifications do not affect stability

S.24.72(b) The owner must provide documentation on vessel characteristics, including stability

S.24.76(a) The master must ensure that the vessel is capable of safely making the voyage, due consideration to seaworthiness

BackgroundThe Legal Case
background the legal case16
Prevention Policy around vessel stability sections of the OHSR is fairly extensive

Policy allows officers to require formal stability when stability is suspect

Policy also details responsibilities of owners and vessel masters

BackgroundThe Legal Case
why a guideline
The Cap Rouge II investigation highlighted the complexities of determining adequate vessel stability

Prevention Policy does not address what is expected from officers and by industry as acceptable stability criteria

There are no formal federal stability requirements for most small fishing vessels

Why a Guideline
why a guideline18
Requirements in the regulation around vessel stability are general and offer no guidance for consistency

Industry will require a “level playing field” from which to measure the stability of their vessel

The Guideline is a proactive measure to allow industry to address these issues before enforcement is initiated

The Guideline will offer consistency of enforcement so that industry will be aware of what the enforcement criteria are

Administration of Guideline should ensure regulatory due diligence

Why a Guideline
why a guideline19
What does the Guideline say?

S.24.72(b) of the OSHR requires the owner to offer appropriate instructions for the stability of the vessel

As in all other equipment operations, these instructions need to be meaningful

A vessel must be formally assessed to determine a baseline from which various operating conditions can be modeled and described

Suggests inclining experiments for vessels with closed (void) spaces and freeboard verification and sailing restrictions for vessel with no void spaces

It is only from these formal assessments that owners can offer appropriate and meaningful instructions on vessel stability to their crew

Why a Guideline
Transport Canada

They will be required to approve stability books and will see a significant increase in work load. They accept this and are working at increasing staffing levels in anticipation

Stability is a federal responsibility but they are a few years away from formal requirements and support the efforts of the WCB. They are hopeful that this specific initiative will aid in their national agenda on fishing vessel stability


A recent formal meeting was held on this issue. Represented were:

BC Seafood Alliance

BC Council of Professional Fish Harvesters

Fishing Vessel Owners Association

Fishermen’s Mutual Marine Insurance

Northern Native Brotherhood

Ocean Fisheries

Underwater Harvesters Association

Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board

This issue was also discussed with the UFAWU who were unable to attend this recent meeting

Industry Comments

Industry is concerned about the cost for this requirement ($2 to $10 K per vessel, plus need repairs if required)

They do not dispute the need for this work to be completed

They understand that this is a one time requirement as long as the data are maintained

They want to be proactive and participate in the required educational component of this initiative

This Guideline will ensure that fishing vessels are afforded the same level of stability assessment as all other commercial vessels, vehicles, rail, aircraft and mobile equipment

There is a significant education component required once the Guideline has been approved. Work in this regard is underway

The Guideline, and the ensuing action coming from it, addresses may years of recommendations from Coroners Courts and Accident Investigations. It also advises on what WCB accepts as compliance of these stability requirements