TSB Canada investigates passenger boat grounding

Stellar Sea Stellar Sea Jamie's Whale Watching

OCTOBER 3, 2016 — Less than a year after a whale watching vessel operated by Jamie's Whaling Station, Tofino, BC, capsized with the loss of six lives (see earlier story) another of the company's vessels has been involved in an incident.

On Saturday, October 1, its passenger vessel Stellar Sea ran aground, but in this incident no passengers or crew were injured.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators following the grounding and will gather information and assess the occurrence. It lists its investigation of last year's incident, which involved the vessel Leviathan II as "ongoing"

Jamie's Whaling Station posted the following statement on Saturday's grounding on its Facebook page.

Tofino, B.C., October 2nd, 2016 - During our final bear watching tour on Saturday, October 1st, our passenger vessel "Stellar Sea" ran aground. All passengers and crew returned safely, and we have resumed normal business operations.

The vessel was travelling at slow speed at the time of the incident, on inside, sheltered waters in Clayoquot Sound. 26 passengers were onboard during the tour as well as 2 Transport Canada-certified crew members, and the incident occurred at approximately 5:45pm PST. Because the vessel could not continue with its voyage, all passengers were transferred onto other Jamie's vessels that were in the vicinity and safely returned to Tofino. Refunds were provided to all passengers and some passengers were booked onto other tours today.

Some early media reports today have suggested the Stellar Sea partially sank as a result of this incident. We can confirm that did not occur. The vessel was grounded and unable to move, but the vessel was not in danger of sinking, and none of the passengers or crew requested medical attention as a result of the incident. As a precautionary measure a boom was also deployed around the vessel in case of any fuel or oil leakage, but no spillage has or is expected to occur.

We resumed normal operations today, and will be utilizing other boats while the Stellar Sea is in for repairs. We expect the vessel to be returned to port shortly.

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