The Ocean Monarch. (Transportation Safety Board)

The Ocean Monarch. (Transportation Safety Board)

Mate asleep while on watch in B.C. tug incident, TSB report says

The Ocean Monarch touched bottom while towing a barge loaded with cement south of Kitimat

The Transportation Safety board cites crew fatigue as a cause in a report involving a B.C. tug that touched bottom while towing a barge loaded with cement south of Kitimat.

The report says the vessel’s lone mate on watch duty fell asleep as the Ocean Monarch remained on auto pilot through Royal Channel’s confined waters.

There were no reports of injuries or pollution, but the tug’s hull and propeller sustained damage.

The tug’s operator had no strategies in place to mitigate a tired crew despite a previous occurrence in 2011 where fatigue played a role.

The board has highlighted employee fatigue as a major safety hazard in the marine, rail and air transport industries.

Last May, the board recommended mandatory fatigue-awareness education for vessel operators in a report on the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart tug, which spilled about 110,000 litres of diesel into the water off B.C.’s central coast.

The Canadian Press

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