Jamie’s Whaling Station says it will closely review recommendations and make any possible safety improvements following the release of the final TSB report into the deadly whale-watching incident near Tofino. Kendall Hanson reports.
The sheer beauty of Vancouver Island’s west coast draws tourists from around the world.
Even on a rainy, chilly day one of the main attractions continues to be a chance to go whale watching.
One group arrived back in Tofino Wednesday after an excursion with Jamie’s Whaling Station.
“So we’re out here holidaying and it’s been quite the experience,” tourist Marilyn Roemer said.
But for the tour operator, thoughts today would have been with another group of tourists and another boat.
Six people were killed and 21 had to be rescued after Jamie’s Whaling Station’s Leviathan II capsized in October 2015.
On Wednesday, the company said they are carefully reviewing the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) report into the tragedy.
“We’re going to review all the recommendations,” Ryan Teremy with Jamie’s Whaling Station said.
“We’re going to do everything we can to try and mitigate these risks. like they stated it was a large unexpected wave that hit our vessel.”
The TSB found the Leviathan II itself more than met crucial stability requirements and was not a factor.
“We found the vessel exceeded Transport Canada stability requirements and therefore stability was ruled out,” Clinton Rebeiro, the investigator in charge for the TSB, said.
“It was the exposure of the vessel to the steep large wave that caused it to initially broach and rapidly capsize.”
But the TSB does say more needs to be done to protect passengers and crew on vessels such as these.
Jamie’s Whale Watching says that work is already underway.
It’s added inflatable life jackets for passengers, enhanced radio check-in procedures and added Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons for all of its boats.
“The TSB has said there are areas where we can improve on and we will,” Jamie Bray said in a video posted online.
The owner and founder of the company that bears his name said that on this day, his thoughts continue to be with those who lost their lives and their families.
“The tragedy of October 25th will never fade from our memories,” Bray said.
In a statement, Tofino’s mayor said the TSB report is an important step in the community’s recovery.
Life here goes on but memories of that tragic day have left deep scars that will take time to heal.