Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

November 20, 2006 09:30 ET

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada Investigation Shows Lack of Stability to Be a Causal Factor in the 2004 Capsizing of the Ryan's Commander

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 20, 2006) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released the final report (M04N0086) on its investigation into the capsizing of the Ryan's Commander off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, on September 19, 2004. The investigation determined the causes and contributing factors that led to the capsizing. The TSB found that the Ryan's Commander had a limited ability to recover if it rolled to large angles. That day, the Ryan's Commander left port lightly loaded, with its anti-roll tank partially full, and with extra fishing gear stowed high above the water - making it vulnerable to the prevailing wind and seas.

The report reveals that the vessel's stability characteristics were neither completely assessed nor fully understood by the owners, the builders, the naval architect or Transport Canada (TC). Furthermore, the master and owners were not entirely aware of the operational limitations of their vessel or anti-roll tank, and did not appreciate the developing dangerous situation. In November 2005, during the course of the investigation, the Board made a recommendation regarding fishing vessel stability.

"We found that the weather, the operation and the design of the vessel all contributed to the capsizing of the Ryan's Commander," says Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "But it will take a shared commitment to creating a safety culture - involving vessel owners and crew members, architects and ship builders, safety regulators and those who seek to conserve fish stocks."

The report also reveals that the fisheries were managed in an environment that did not fully address fishing vessel safety concerns and it calls for cooperation between TC and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). To this end, the Board is encouraged that a Memorandum of Understanding between DFO and TC was recently signed to provide a framework for cooperation with regard to fishing vessel safety and the safety implications of fisheries management plans.

The Board is also encouraged that TC has taken specific measures to require stability assessments of inspected high-risk fishing vessels and that DFO is committed to addressing the Board concern.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

This communique is available on the TSB Web site at

The following documents are also available on this site:

Report M04N0086
News Release, 21 November 2005

Contact Information

  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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    Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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