Cruise ship that grounded in Nunavut “sustained major hull damage”: TSB update

Akademik Ioffe released 80 litres of fuel oil after grounding near Kugaaruk

Here’s how the Akademik Ioffe looked before it ran aground in the Gulf of Boothia. Transportation Safety Board investigators are now investigating all the circumstances around the grounding which led to a release of 80 litres of oil. (File photo)

By Jane George

A small amount of fuel spilled when the Akademik Ioffe cruise ship grounded near Kugaaruk last August, according to the Transportation Safety Board.

That’s at odds with the cruise ship’s owner’s earlier reports, which claimed that no fuel spill took place.

And the 117-metre vessel “sustained major hull damage” when it grounded on Aug. 24, the TSB says in an online update for its ongoing investigation.

Three ballast water tanks and two bunker fuel oil tanks were breached and took on water, and about 80 litres of fuel was released, according to information from the TSB.

No injuries were reported during the Akademik Ioffe grounding and the ship’s 163 passengers were evacuated to its sister vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, and on to Kugaaruk for flights out.

After the grounding, the captain secured and safeguarded the black box, which contains information about what course the ship was on before it ran aground.

TSB investigators later arrived to begin their evaluation of the grounding.

On Sept. 14, 2018, Akademik Ioffe did head south on its own power, after Transport Canada determined that it could transit safely.

The ship arrived at its final destination in Les Méchins, Que. on Sept. 25, 2018.

While the TSB investigation report may take many more months to complete, the cruise ship grounding, which put people and the environment at risk, remains on the minds of many.

Passengers on board the Akademik Ioffe leave the ship on Aug. 25, 2018. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the circumstances of the cruise ship’s grounding this past Aug. 24 near Kugaaruk. (File photo)

The Akademik Ioffe’s grounding was mentioned during the recent Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing into offshore oil and gas development in the eastern Arctic and the NIRB technical meeting in Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s expansion plans, which would see much more shipping to and from the north Baffin Mary River mine site.

The investigator in charge of the TSB investigation, François Dumont, has been an investigator with the TSB since 2013.

A TSB biography of Dumont shows he brings much experience to the investigation.

Before joining the TSB, Dumont sailed for 12 years in the merchant navy aboard bulk carriers, tankers, tugs, general cargo ships and icebreakers. He also was a marine safety inspector with Transport Canada for three years.

Dumont also holds a diploma from the Institut Maritime du Québec in Marine Mechanical Engineering Techniques, a first class marine engineer’s certificate for motor vessels, and a fourth class marine engineer’s certificate for steam vessels.

Dumont is leading the Class 2 investigation into the Akademik Ioffe grounding.

A Class 2 investigation can take up to 600 days before a report, which will usually offer recommendations, is issued. Such investigations are “particularly complex and involve several safety issues requiring in-depth analysis,” the TSB said.

For the investigation, the TSB will review records, test parts of the wreckage in the lab, determine the sequence of events and identify safety deficiencies.

When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB said it “advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.”

A confidential draft report is approved by the TSB and sent to individuals and corporations who are directly concerned by the report.

They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The TSB then considers all representations before approving the final report, which is then released to the public.

As an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences, the TSB doesn’t assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

After the 2010 grounding of the Clipper Adventurer cruise vessel near Kugluktuk, the TSB launched a full investigation.

The TSB report, issued in April 2012, determined the Clipper Adventurer’s grounding was the result of broken equipment and questionable decisions by its crew.

“Such decisions may place a vessel, passengers and crew at risk,” the report said.

The TSB also investigated the Aug. 29, 1996 grounding of the Hanseatic in Simpson Strait.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Margaret Suvissak on

    Last year they said they haven’t spilled some now Facebook told us they spilled 80litres of oil in Nunavut Oceans. I just hope they will never send any cruise ship up in Nunavut ever again. I don’t want ocean to be polluted.

  2. Posted by Guy Kringorn on

    I believe if it had back track it’s route going back up north from Kugaaruk, the incident would have been prevented. But it turn northwest after 50 to 60 miles north of Kugaaruk from its original route going towards kugaaruk.

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