Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board has released the video of the June 15th dive by a Remotely Operated Vehicle on the Queen Of The North, now resting in over 400 meters of water in Wright Sound.
The dive recovered the hard-drive of the bridge navigation computer and the quick reference guide for the operation of that system.
The video is 4 minutes long and, from the point of view of a mariner, fascinating. This is a direct link.
TSB made an intresting observation. They recommended that BC Ferries be equipped with Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs). Similar to the flight and cockpit data recorders installed in commercial aircraft, they are not a common item in most merchant ships which are not subject to international regulations and conventions. The International Maritime Organization has adopted a policy requiring all passenger ships and other ships over 3000 tons, constructed after 2002 to be fitted with VDRs. They further required passenger ships subject to international regulations which were constructed prior to 2002 to fit VDRs no later than 2004.
The difficulty here of course, is that BC Ferries are not "convention" vessels. They are required to meet a Canadian coastal trading standard under the Canada Shipping Act which does not necessarily require all the detailed items of a vessel trading internationally.
Nevertheless, BC Ferries has agreed that all new-construction vessels will be fitted "mission-capable" voyage data recorders and all existing ships will be retro-fitted with simplified voyage data recorders.
Presently, the two BC Ferries members who were on watch on the bridge of QOTN at the time of the incident are not answering questions to the BC Ferries internal investigation. They have the right to refuse to answer questions. Given that, it is expected that they would have fully disclosed their information to the Transportation Safety Board, particularly since investigators cannot be called upon to testify in court regarding their findings.
The video is really worth the look, especially the part where the ROV arm grabs the navigation computer quick reference guide.