News release

Steering control issues a factor in the April 2014 grounding of tanker Halit Bey off Grondines, Quebec

Québec, Quebec, 11 May 2015  – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M14C0045) into the 22 April 2014, grounding of the chemical/products tanker Halit Bey off Grondines, Quebec. The vessel was proceeding upbound in the St. Lawrence River under the conduct of a pilot when steering control was lost. The vessel veered to port and exited the navigational channel, running aground on the south side of the river off Grondines, Quebec at 0416 Eastern Daylight Time. No damage, pollution, or injuries were reported. The vessel was later refloated with the assistance of two tugs.

The investigation found that steering control from the steering wheel was likely disabled when an unprotected joystick was inadvertently moved, which activated the autopilot override and alarm. The bridge crew was not adequately familiarized with the characteristics of the Halit Bey's steering control system and did not know how to regain control after the autopilot override alarm activated. Once steering control was lost, the vessel veered towards the shore and the crew's attempts to reduce speed and anchor the vessel were unsuccessful to prevent the vessel from running aground.

On 29 May 2014, the TSB sent Marine Safety Advisory (MSA) letter 05/14 to the vessel owners regarding issues with the steering gear control configuration and the familiarization of the navigation crew members with the steering gear system on board the Halit Bey.

Following the grounding, complete emergency change-over procedures were posted on the bridge of the Halit Bey, taking into account the particularity of the steering control that could be disabled if someone activated the autopilot override mode.

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