October 19, 2007
TSB concerned by ferry crew cannabis use
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has issued a Board Concern about cannabis use aboard ferries to BC Ferries as part of the ongoing investigation into the sinking of the Queen of the North on March 22, 2006.
The Board Concern (a formal letter of notifcation) was issued after the TSB learned that several crew members of the Queen of the North regularly smoked cannabis between shifts, both on board and off the vessel. The Board stressed that there is no evidence that the crew members on the bridge at the time of the accident were impaired.
"Ferry crews whose performance is impaired by cannabis are a clear risk to the travelling public," said Mrs. Wendy A. Tadros, Chair of the Board. "We are confident that BC Ferries will determine the extent of the problem and effectively manage this risk so it will not lead to a serious accident," she added.
In expressing its concern and highlighting the risk, the Board believes that BC Ferries is in the best position to determine whether this behavior is present on board other vessels in its northern fleet. As a first step, BC Ferries should determine whether cannabis is in use by crews of other vessels or whether it was isolated to the Queen of the North. This should include a review of the effectiveness of the company's policy on alcohol/drugs. The Board further encouraged BC Ferries to address the issue without delay.
The TSB will be monitoring the progress made by BC Ferries on this issue and will be reporting on it in its final report into the sinking of the Queen of the North.