News release

Inadequate towing arrangement, degraded couplers, and weather cited as factors in 2013 grounding of two service vessels near Gros Morne, Quebec

Québec, Quebec, 25 March 2015 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M13L0185) into the 15 December 2013 loss of tow and subsequent grounding of the service vessels I.V. NO. 9, and I.V. NO. 10. The two service vessels broke free from Tug Andre H which was also towing barge I.V. NO. 8. No injuries or pollution were reported.

The investigation revealed that the master had underestimated the risk posed by the forecast northeasterly winds for the area and chose to continue the voyage after a 7-hour delay. Furthermore, the towing arrangement was inadequate for the environmental and operational conditions. The synthetic rope couplers employed in the towing arrangement were in a degraded condition and parted during the voyage, causing the service vessels to break from the tow. The crew of the Andre H. was unable to recover the service vessels that broke free, due to reduced visibility and weather.

The investigation also found that there are risks when towing vessel operators do not have procedures and do not adopt standards to ensure the adequacy of the towing arrangement and the condition of the towing equipment. Furthermore, there is a risk of collision when operators and masters do not ensure that the prescribed navigation lights and shapes are exhibited.

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