Jamie’s Whaling Station has issued a statement in response to today’s Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s Marine Investigation Report into the capsizing of the Leviathan II.
Six of the vessel’s 24 passengers died after the 65-foot whale watching vessel capsized near Plover Reefs off the West Coast of Vancouver Island on Oct. 25, 2015.
“We know that on October 25, 2015, things went very wrong during what was supposed to be a routine trip. The TSB report has confirmed that the only significant factor causing the accident was the extreme circumstance of a large breaking wave hitting the starboard quarter of the vessel. The TSB’s conclusion is that the vessel’s stability met and even exceeded Transport Canada’s stability standards,” the company’s statement read.
“Although safety has always been at the forefront for Jamie’s we recognise the ocean is an unpredictable environment and have been working to see where further improvements could be made.”
The company said it has increased the number of personal flotation devices on its vessels and invested in manually inflatable Personal Floatation Devices to be worn by passengers when on outer decks.
“Canadian law does not require people on these vessels to wear a PFD but Jamie’s Whaling Station reached the conclusion that this was an increased measure of safety that could be taken for our passengers and crew,” the statement read adding Jamie’s has reinstated the use of Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons on all its vessels, including zodiacs, and enhanced its scheduled radio call in procedures between offices and vessels.
The company said it will continue reviewing the TSB’s recommendations.
“We know that lives were lost and appreciate that no amount of reflection or promises can bring those people back to their loved ones. We will continue working together with our industry to ensure we all provide the safest possible experience to our guests and ensure we not only meet but exceed safety regulations. We know the well-being of our passengers and crew depends on us and we take that responsibility seriously,” the statement read.
“The owner, managers, and crew of Jamie’s Whaling Station want to extend our most sincere gratitude to the communities of the West Coast and our guests for all of the support they have continued to show us. We have always been proud to be a part of our small community and even more so now.”
Tofino mayor Josie Osborne also issued a statement shortly after the TSB’s report was released on Wednesday.
“The attention and thoroughness applied by the Transportation Safety Board to this incident provides a great deal of comfort, and we look forward to seeing how Transport Canada will work to implement the recommendations made by the TSB,” Osborne wrote.
“Today, we are all thinking of all those affected by the tragedy, especially the victims, survivors, their families and our community. We hope this report helps them in their recovery. We are also reminded of the incredible professionalism and care demonstrated by first responders, including the whale watching fleet and First Nations, and community members during those difficult minutes, hours and days following the capsizing.”