A Transportation Safety Board investigation into an incident during a training exercise on the B.C. Ferries vessel Queen of Cumberland that saw two crew members injured, one seriously, reveals it was due to incorrect securement.
The incident happened in Swartz Bay in April of 2018 during a routine man-overboard exercise.
“The crew members on the Queen of Cumberland, operated by BC Ferries Services Inc., were using the davit, a device used to hoist or lower rescue or life boats, to raise the vessel’s rescue boat out of the water during a drill, when the hoist cable broke.”
The TSB investigation found that the rescue boat painter (rope) was not secured with enough working length and that exerted a force on the boat and cable as it was being raised.
“The resulting side load caused the hoist cable to get pinched and break, resulting in the boat falling into the water along with the two crew members.”
The boat fell approximately 11-meters to the water injuring the crew and damaging the boat.
The investigation also found that when the new davit was installed on the Queen of Cumberland in 2016 during its mid-life upgrade, several necessary updates to maintenance schedules and systems, operating procedures and training were not carried out when it re-entered service..
“Subsequent audits by BC Ferries identified some of the missing updates, but others went unidentified and unresolved until the time of the occurrence,” the report reads.
The TSB says that following the incident, BC Ferries restricted personnel from being on board the rescue boats while they are being raised or lowered, except during emergencies.
“The company has also provided updated training on the operations and limitations of rescue boat davits, and updated its maintenance procedures.”