TSB, BCFC and Cannabis

Now I realize that the wheels of TSB grind slowly, but this release from yesterday made me go Hmmm. A Board Concern that takes a year to release and concerns about possible cannabis use onboard by the crew on a Ferry. The same crew who is presumably manning another ship for the year it took for this Board Concern to be released.
Yet TSB wants BCFC to review their policy without delay?
I have to wonder how many meetings this took at TSB to get this Board Concern released.

(Gatineau, Quebec, October 17, 2007) – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) issued a Board Concern about cannabis use aboard ferries to BC Ferries as part of the ongoing investigation into the sinking of the Queen of the North on March 22, 2006 (TSB occurrence M06W0052).

The Board Concern was issued after the TSB learned that several crew members of the Queen of the North regularly smoked cannabis between shifts, both on board and off the vessel. The Board stressed that there is no evidence that the crew members on the bridge at the time of the accident were impaired.

“Ferry crews whose performance is impaired by cannabis are a clear risk to the travelling public,” said Mrs. Wendy A. Tadros, Chair of the Board. “We are confident that BC Ferries will determine the extent of the problem and effectively manage this risk so it will not lead to a serious accident,” she added.

In expressing its concern and highlighting the risk, the Board believes that BC Ferries is in the best position to determine whether this behaviour is present on board other vessels in its northern fleet. As a first step, BC Ferries should determine whether cannabis is in use by crews of other vessels or whether it was isolated to the Queen of the North. This should include a review of the effectiveness of the company’s policy on alcohol/drugs. The Board further encouraged BC Ferries to address the issue without delay.

The TSB will be monitoring the progress made by BC Ferries on this issue and will be reporting on it in its final report into the sinking of the Queen of the North.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.


This article has 1 Comment

  1. In the US, they wont even offer to hire you unless you have a negative drug test result. Like most Canadians, I dont agree with that perpesctive, as it infringes on the civil liberties and privacy and is not the company’s business. But I can certainly understand the concerns having been at sea long enough to know that that the TSB findings are not an isolated case. Personally I don’t think the pot use I saw, is as much a concern as the coke use I have seen on occasion, now that to me is a concern.

    Most companies have a convenient stated policy of zero tolerance for crew and premises, but really it is not entirely enforceable especially when it comes to pot. One of the skipper I was recently sailing with had a pretty good comment on the subject, which I think, is quite valid and should be applicable.

    I will stand in line and get drug tested, I have many times in the past, and I am not afraid to do it again, but the person at the head of the line should be the CEO and anyone else in the decision making, process right on down to the lowly engineer on the boat. Whats good for the gander, has to be good for the goose.

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