News release

Lack of communication between pilot and bridge team contributed to 2012 grounding of bulk carrier Tundra on the St. Lawrence River

Québec, Quebec, 29 May 2014 – In its investigation report (M12L0147), the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found that fatigue and ineffective communication between the pilot and bridge team contributed to the grounding of the bulk carrier Tundra, near Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel, Quebec in November 2012. There were no injuries, but the vessel sustained minor damage.

On 28 November 2012, the Tundra departed Montreal, Quebec under the conduct of a pilot en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia. A master-pilot exchange of vessel technical information took place prior to departure, but passage plans for the voyage were not discussed. That evening, the vessel passed a position where a course alteration is required. However, no orders to change course were given by the pilot. The vessel exited the navigation channel and ran aground.

The investigation found that during the voyage, the pilot and bridge team were not exchanging information regarding navigation and that the bridge team was unaware of a planned course change. The vessel exited the navigation channel and ran aground because the pilot did not make a planned course change. Fatigue was also likely a factor for the pilot at a critical time when the course change was required to maintain safe navigation.

Since the occurrence, the vessel owner reminded its bridge officers to regularly verify and monitor their vessels’ position when under the conduct of a pilot. The Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Corporation des Pilotes du Saint-Laurent Central committed to studying the risks related to fatigue. As well, they published a brochure for pilots to enhance communications between pilots and ship masters.

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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053