Cause of vessel sinking off Sable Island remains a mystery, crew saved

[B]Cause of vessel sinking off Sable Island remains a mystery, crew saved [/B]

December 24, 2013 -
The employer of four fishermen rescued off Sable Island early yesterday morning says it’s not clear yet why the vessel ran into trouble.
The F.V. Gentle Lady went to the bottom in light seas around 4 a.m. on Sunday, about 70 nautical miles east of Sable Island.
The crew was picked up by another fishing vessel, then brought to Louisbourg by the Coast Guard.
Thomas Grover, of WT Grover Fisheries in Canso, drove there to pick up the men.
He said there was water on the deck and the crew couldn’t do anything — that’s when they decided to abandon ship.
“When they realized things were at a point that there was nothing else they could do, their training comes into effect, they don’t even think about it. They went, they got their gear, and they got their survival gear. And then the captain made the call, they deployed the life raft and shortly thereafter, they made the call to abandon ship and they all got in and, thankfully, got in safely,” Grover said.
“It’s always a risky operation.”
Grover called the fishermen’s families early Sunday morning. They are now resting at home.
“They were all in good cheer,” he said.
He said they will be interviewed shortly to try to find out what led to the sinking.

The F.V. Gentle Lady went to the bottom in [B][U]light seas[/U][/B] around 4 a.m. on Sunday

light seas eh?..how light? no vessel should founder in “light seas” unless manifestly unseaworthy to start with. even an overloaded or marginally stable vessel would stay afloat if the seastate is gentle

whole thing sounds fishy to me…

I will say, usually when one sinks a boat they do it in warmer months…but ALWAYS with another boat real close by to pick them up. Couldn’t say where exactly but there’s a spot where quite a few boats “mysteriously” sank right next to each other on some crappy bottom in deep water. Everyone had “ten grand, cash” in their room and miraculously the boat no electronics those days. They made it obvious!

A raw water hose busted with no one paying attention could easily sink a boat.

[QUOTE=justaboatdriver;126959]A raw water hose busted with no one paying attention could easily sink a boat.[/QUOTE]

what no bilge alarm? nobody even looking into the engineroom from time to time?

how stoopid are these people?

Well I’m not saying it happened but could easily be the cause. Some commercial fishing outfits are just duck tape and beer cans holding it all together.

From the Chronicle Herald

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Four fishermen from the Gentle Lady, seen here departing Arichat in 2010, were rescued off Sable Island Sunday. (JARROD DAVID / Shipspotting.com)
Four fishermen from the Gentle Lady, seen here departing Arichat in 2010, were rescued off Sable Island Sunday. (JARROD DAVID / Shipspotting.com)

Four Canso fishermen were rescued early Sunday after spending about five hours in a life raft off Sable Island.

Another fishing vessel came to the rescue of the Gentle Lady, a small fishing vessel owned by Larrys River-based W.T. Grover Fisheries Ltd.

The Gentle Lady couldn’t be saved, company director Thomas Grover said Sunday.

It was the second vessel lost this year for W.T. Grover, which had a fleet of only four.

It’s hard to say right now what the loss will mean for the small company, said Grover.

“We’re just very happy that everybody’s coming home safely,” he said.

At 1:30 p.m., he had spoken only briefly to the four fishermen, who are all in their 40s or 50s, he said. They are longtime employees of the company.

Thomas said the men had been fishing for sea cucumbers. Certain parts of sea cucumbers can be frozen or dried and sold to Asian markets. Fishing methods are usually the same as for sea urchins.

The Gentle Lady’s emergency beacon went off at about 4 a.m., said Cpt. Peter Ryan of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.

The ship was about 70 nautical miles (130 kilometres) east of Sable Island at the time. The closest vessel was the Ocean Concord, owned by Clearwater Seafoods Ltd., and it was asked to proceed to the location of the beacon.

The Ocean Concord brought them on board safely.

A Cormorant helicopter and Hercules aircraft were deployed, as well as coast guard vessels, said Ryan. The coast guard planned to transfer the men to one of its own ships later today, and to bring them to Louisburg. They were expected to arrive Sunday evening.

Weather conditions early Sunday in the area of the rescue were poor, with zero visibility, fog, rain, and two-metre seas, said Ryan.

The Ocean Concord found the men a little after 9 a.m., said Clearwater spokeswoman Christine Penney. The two boats had been about 10 kilometres apart, she said.

The crew of about 40 on the Ocean Concord were fishing for clam, she said. Clearwater vessels have done rescues before, and the company’s crew routinely does safety drills.

“These guys did a great job. We’re really proud of them,” she said.

She said she wasn’t sure how far off course the Ocean Concord went to drop them off to the coast guard.

“We don’t think about costs at this kind of event,” she said. “When these things happen, you’ve got to lend a hand, and that’s what we do.”

W.T. Grover lost its other boat, the All Seven, after it began taking on water in July. They were about 200 km east of Halifax at the time.

The All Seven sank that day. The three fishermen were rescued by a British ocean tanker.

I cannot get the photo to post so here is the link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1175542-fishermen-in-life-raft-rescued-off-sable-island

70 miles east of Sable Island is about 200 miles offshore from mainland Nova Scotia. Fishing out there at this time of year is no joke. That doesn’t look like much of a boat for offshore winter fishing either.

This is the company’s second loss in 5 months? Both times a rescue boat just happened to be in RADAR range when the distress call went out?

Sounds fishy indeed. Perhaps the owner was tiring of the fishing trade and figured insurance would pay off better than trying to sell the business.

I bet the crew will be well compensated for their ordeal. Wonder how long before the remaining 2 boats rest on the bottom.

[QUOTE=Jetryder223;126973]This is the company’s second loss in 5 months? Both times a rescue boat just happened to be in RADAR range when the distress call went out?

Sounds fishy indeed. Perhaps the owner was tiring of the fishing trade and figured insurance would pay off better than trying to sell the business.

I bet the crew will be well compensated for their ordeal. Wonder how long before the remaining 2 boats rest on the bottom.[/QUOTE]

Informed speculation about what might have caused a vessel to sink is one thing, but let’s not start making a lot of completely uninformed and unfounded accusations.

The photo, the similar looking sort of boats that I see alongside the dock in Nova Scotia, the offshore location, the time of year, and my commercial fishing experience, suggest to me a very different most likely scenario.

Yes! I Doubt a sink job in December.

It doesn’t seem like the weather was as light as the original article stated.

well, the photo does show a fairly modern vessel

so then why should it just flood like that with no warning. The account states:

"there was water on the deck and the crew couldn’t do anything

REALLY?..couldn’t do a thing in light seas? No pumps at all? Either an unseaworthy vessel with rusted seavalves or rotten pipes, not equipped to be offshore with proper pumps available, people too stoopid to save their ship or just wanted to see her disappear beneath the waves? Gotta be one of those.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;126980]Informed speculation about what might have caused a vessel to sink is one thing, but let’s not start making a lot of completely uninformed and unfounded accusations.[/QUOTE]

Fair enough. I’m just practicing to be an old cynical sea captain (c.captain?)

[QUOTE=c.captain;126986]well, the photo does show a fairly modern vessel

so then why should it just flood like that with no warning. The account states:

REALLY?..couldn’t do a thing in light seas? No pumps at all? Either an unseaworthy vessel with rusted seavalves or rotten pipes, not equipped to be offshore with proper pumps available, people too stoopid to save their ship or just wanted to see her disappear beneath the waves? Gotta be one of those.[/QUOTE]

I do not know the boat or its specifications. Maybe our Canadian friends here can help us out with more details.

The photo shows me a pretty small boat of perhaps 55 feet. It may be a relatively new fiberglass boat, or it may be an older wooden boat that has been built-up and modernized, perhaps with a thin fiberglass skin retrofitted. Eventually, we’ll find out.

There are lots of reasons why boats suddenly and unexpectedly go down-- lost rudders, lost shafts, broken packing glands, sprung planks, collapsed bulkheads, burst piping and hoses, etc, etc. We’ve seen all this before.

The ocean is not simply full of fish. Fish tend to congregate in certain places at certain times of year. Fishermen tend to fish where the fish are. No surprise that other boats were in the area.

In an attempt to put this in terms that a Bering Sea fisherman would understand, what they were doing was akin to fishing 70 miles west of the Pribilof Islands in a very small boat — just before Christmas. They must have been pretty damn hungry. No way in hell they simply pulled the plug way out there.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;127001]I do not know the boat or its specifications. Maybe our Canadian friends here can help us out with more details.

The photo shows me a pretty small boat of perhaps 55 feet. It may be a relatively new fiberglass boat, or it may be an older wooden boat that has been built-up and modernized, perhaps with a thin fiberglass skin retrofitted. Eventually, we’ll find out.

There are lots of reasons why boats suddenly and unexpectedly go down-- lost rudders, lost shafts, broken packing glands, sprung planks, collapsed bulkheads, burst piping and hoses, etc, etc. We’ve seen all this before.

The ocean is not simply full of fish. Fish tend to congregate in certain places at certain times of year. Fishermen tend to fish where the fish are. No surprise that other boats were in the area.

In an attempt to put this in terms that a Bering Sea fisherman would understand, what they were doing was akin to fishing 70 miles west of the Pribilof Islands in a very small boat — just before Christmas. They must have been pretty damn hungry. No way in hell they simply pulled the plug way out there.[/QUOTE]

Everyone is out on deck cutting fish or working gear, the boat is already heavily loaded towards the end of a trip, shaft packing gives way or a raw water hose busts. Before you know it the water is at the scuppers and no one hears the taped over alarm in the wheelhouse. Its a fishing boat, it isn’t going to be built, manned and maintained to solas standards. The profit margins just aren’t there, unless of course the japanese want to pay 1000x as much per pound for sea cucumbers!

Accidents can happen to anyone, even the most heavily regulated and heavily licensed vessels in the world, but I still can’t help but feel that this is yet another example of why at least some regulation needs to come to the running of these fishing vessels themselves. I know the act of fishing itself is already very heavily regulated but it’s the vessels and their crews that lack any real guidelines. I don’t know enough about this case to make any hard and fast judgements, so I won’t, but it is deeply saddening to think that perhaps if vessels like this one had a bit more oversight that this accident might not have happened.

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;127005]Accidents can happen to anyone, even the most heavily regulated and heavily licensed vessels in the world, but I still can’t help but feel that this is yet another example of why at least some regulation needs to come to the running of these fishing vessels themselves. I know the act of fishing itself is already very heavily regulated but it’s the vessels and their crews that lack any real guidelines. I don’t know enough about this case to make any hard and fast judgements, so I won’t, but it is deeply saddening to think that perhaps if vessels like this one had a bit more oversight that this accident might not have happened.[/QUOTE]

In the United States, no operators license is required to operate a fishing boat up to 199 GRT (which is at least 90% of them), however, US fishing boats under 199 GRT have more government safety requirements than US tugboats under 199 GRT (which is at least 90% of them). The US fishing industry has more than enough regulations already.

Canada regulates fishing safety much more heavily than the US. Canadian fishermen must have mandatory training,and be licensed by Transport Canada to operate relatively small fishing boats. Canadian licensing standards are similar to the British, and often thought to be much higher than in the US. I don’ think Canadian fishermen need anymore regulations either.

Going to sea is dangerous. Always has been, always will be. Shit happens.

I’m pretty certain that is a steel hull there…

so if not sale to the underwriters there still is something fishy here which says stoopid people operating a vessel who did not know how to save their ship!

.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;127008]Canadian fishermen must have mandatory training.[/QUOTE]

All documented fishing vessels in the US are required to conduct monthly training and drills, in the presents of a qualified drill conductor, in addition they are required to conduct monthly maintenance on all survival and lifesaving appliances. After October 15, 2015, ALL US commercial fishing vessels will be required to conduct and log such drills and training in addition to monthly maintenance to all survival and life saving appliances. 46 CFR 28.265, .270, .275