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Safety board wants more oversight, training in wake of 2019 tug sinking in B.C.

VANCOUVER — The Transportation Safety Board says the sinking of a tug and its barge on B.C.

VANCOUVER — The Transportation Safety Board says the sinking of a tug and its barge on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast highlights the need for increased oversight and certified training for captains

The Sheena M, operated by Active Marine Towing, was pulling the barge when it capsized in the water off Langdale on Oct. 1, 2019.

A report released by the safety board Friday says the tug sank when it made a turn, but the barge didn't respond to the new direction and the force capsized the vessel, an event called girding.

The report says the sinking highlights the need for more oversight from Transport Canada in regulating the operation of smaller tugboats.

The captain and the tug's deckhand were able to safely escape and were rescued by a passing vessel.

The report says the Sheena M didn't need a safety management system because of Transport Canada regulations, but it adds training under such a system would have helped the captain recognize the trouble facing his vessel.

"The (board) has previously found that towing companies tend to rely on a master's skills and experience to avoid girding situations and do not provide masters with guidance, training, and education on how to recognize and respond to girding situations," the safety board said in its report.

Instead, it would like operators of tugboats under a certain weight, like the Sheena M, to face more oversight.

The board says the tug had been previously flagged for safety deficiencies and had fixed all but one at the time of the sinking.

This report was first published by the Canadian Press on May 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press





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