Fatigue Cited in Fishing Boats' 2012 Collision

Unfamiliarity with safety issues also contributed to the collision, which caused one of the ships to sink and caused the death of one crewman, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada concluded.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on Jan. 21 released its final investigative report on the predawn collision of two fishing boats, the Viking Storm and the Maverick, in dense fog 30 nautical miles off La Push, Wash., on Sept. 28, 2012. Maverick, an American vessel out of Seattle, capsized and sank in 1,500 feet of water, and only three of its four crew members survived.

The board's investigation found that Maverick had been drifting overnight without a crew member on lookout duty and Viking Storm's mate, "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." Also, the board found that high-pressure sodium lights on Viking Storm had impaired the vision and the ability of the deckhand on Maverick to determine the vessel's proximity and delayed his taking evasive action. Neither vessel used sound signals despite the restricted visibility, according to the board.

TSB said the incident illustrates how safety issues in the fishing community are complex and interrelated. Six of the industry's 10 significant safety issues described in TSB's Safety issues Investigation into Fishing Safety in Canada were involved in this collision: 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," according to the board's announcement. The SII video can be found on the TSB website.

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