TSB rules poor planning, no lookout led to tour boat grounding off Tofino

The Transportation Safety Board says insufficient planning contributed to a tourist vessel running aground off Tofino, B.C., in October 2016.

Twenty-six passengers and two crew members had to be rescued after the Stellar Sea hit a rock during a bear-watching excursion organized by Jamie's Whaling Station. Nine of the passengers were picked up soon after the vessel grounded in Warn Bay, but a falling tide forced the remaining 17 passengers to abandon the ship and wait on a nearby rock until they were rescued.

The safety board report says the ship's captain didn't post a lookout who might have seen the protruding rock in time, and also did not use the chart plotter and echo sounder system to their full potential while navigating a challenging marine environment filled with numerous hazards.

The report also says the company did not notify the coast guard until more than four hours after the grounding and not until all the passengers were safe.

Jamie's Whaling Station also owns the Leviathan II, a whale-watching vessel that capsized after it was hit by a rogue wave in October 2015, throwing 27 people into the water and killing six.

(The Canadian Press)

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