Deer Island Princess II made bottom contact due to safety deficiencies

Transportation Safety Board

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) determined common safety hazards had not been identified by the operator when the Deer Island Princess II passenger ferry made bottom contact in 2018.

The TSB says the ferry made bottom contact with four people on board on February 2nd, 2018, while transiting from Butler Point, Deer Island N.B. to Letete N.B. and one of the vessel's two thruster units detached.

As the crew attempted to return to Butler Point, the vessel made bottom contact again, causing the detachment of the second thruster.

investigators determined a combination of lower-than-predicted tide level, local topography and persistent northwesterly wind resulted in not enough water along the route to accommodate the vessel. 

In addition, the master was not aware of the tide height, and had no means of determining water depth since the vessel was not equipped with a depth sounder and the tide boards at Butler Point Wharf and Letete were in disrepair and unusable.

The Transportation Safety Board says the Deer Island Princess II was required to comply with the International Safety Management Code, however no measures were taken to mitigate several safety risks, including striking the bottom during low tides.