March 27, 2007
Human factors blamed in BC Ferries sinking
BC Ferries has released the findings of its internal investigation into the March 22, 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North.
The report concludes that the Queen of the North failed to make the required or any course changes at Sainty Point, and that the ship proceeded straight on an incorrect course for four nautical miles over 14 minutes until its grounding on Gil Island.
The Divisional Inquiry received information from the Transportation Safety Board, which successfully recovered the main computer and hard drive from the vessel's Electronic Chart System ("ECS") and enabled its investigators to reconstruct the actual course and speed of the ship on March 22, 2006.
There was no evidence of alterations of speed at any time during the transit of Wright Sound, and the Queen of the North impacted Gil Island at 17.5 knots.
The Divisional Inquiry Panel concluded that human factors were the primary cause of the sinking of the Queen of the North.
The purpose of a Divisional Inquiry is to gather information regarding contributing factors and generate safety recommendations that can be applied fleetwide if necessary, to educate the fleet and prevent reoccurrence of a similar type of incident.
The report also makes 31 recommendations on equipment, bridge team, and emergency and evacuation procedures. Some of the recommendations have already been implemented and the rest will be acted upon.