Transport Minister David Collenette announced that Transport Canada has given the Transportation Safety Board its third update on action taken to further improve the safety of small passenger vessels since the sinking of the True North II on June 16, 2000, in Tobermory, Ontario.
“Transport Canada has made considerable changes to its regulations, inspection and certification of small passenger vessels following the sinking of the True North II,” said Collenette. “The department has addressed the Transportation Safety Board’s concerns and recommendations, and has nearly completed related regulatory changes and initiatives.”
Since its first and second updates in February and August 2002, Transport Canada has drafted proposed amendments to small passenger vessel regulations to require the stowage of lifesaving equipment in a readily accessible manner; the carriage of radio communications equipment for general purposes as well as to alert others in the event of a distress or emergency situation; and the carriage of appropriately sized lifejackets for every child on board. These proposed amendments are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette Part I in the coming months.
The department is also developing a technical guide on small passenger vessel regulations, standards and safe practices which will be distributed to small passenger vessel operators in the coming months.
These initiatives are in addition to Transport Canada’s development and implementation of a training program that focuses on small passenger vessel inspections and seeks to instill a stronger safety culture within Transport Canada
’s inspector community. In addition, the department has developed a risk-based inspection framework that focuses on small passenger vessels, and an enhanced ship inspection reporting system to expand data to each commercial vessel operating in Canada, facilitate the targeting of inspections, and serve as a tool for managers to audit and harmonize inspection reports.
Transport Canada has also implemented requirements for safety briefings to be given to passengers on or before a vessel’s departure from any location in Canada (which came into force in the spring of 2002); and for any life rafts carried by vessels greater than 15 gross tons and carrying more than 12 passengers to float free in the event of a vessel sinking (which came into force on March 14, 2002).
“We remain committed to working with the Transportation Safety Board and our partners in the marine community to maintain and enhance marine safety in Canada,” added Mr. Collenette. “We also remain vigilant in our efforts to instill a stronger safety culture within Canada’s marine community.”