The investigation by the Transportation and Safety Board of Canada (TSB) into the fire and emergency evacuation of the engine room of the MV Holiday Island could take 450 days or more.

“Rest assured that when we discover serious safety deficiencies during one of our investigations, we do not wait for the investigation report to make them known,” the TSB media representative told The Graphic. “We are informing the industry and the regulator as soon as possible.”

The TSB has not yet issued any safety communications following the investigation into the ferry incident which it titled “TSB Investigation M22A0258.”

The fire, which occurred in July, forced all crew and passengers to evacuate the ship just off Wood Islands. Personal vehicles were left on board as the fire smoldered in the engine room, releasing thick smoke into the atmosphere for hours after evacuation. Damage to the vessel still prevents it from operating normally and it is unclear whether the 50+ year old vessel will ever return to ferry Islanders, visitors and commercial vehicles between Wood Islands, PEI. and Caribou, N.S.

Investigators from the Atlantic Marine Branch of the TSB, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, work in coordination with TSB laboratory engineers based in Ottawa and with human factors experts and other specialists to complete Well the second phase of the three-part investigation process: the examination and analysis phase.

Regional Senior Investigator Jeremy Ross of Dartmouth is leading the process. He has worked for the Canadian Coast Guard since 1999, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax since 2009 and with the TSB since 2018. He has two bachelor’s degrees, one in biology, one in nautical science navigation and he holds a captain or certificate of master.

The first phase of the survey mainly consisted of field work. The team secured and surveyed the occurrence site, examined and photographed the vessel, equipment and wreckage; interviewed witnesses as well as company and government personnel and reviewed certain documents.

Now, in the second phase, the team is working to review broader business, ship, government, and other records; further examine selected wrecks in laboratories; test selected components and systems; read and analyze logs and other data; conduct other interviews; create simulations and reconstruct events; determine the sequence of events; identify security gaps; and inform the public of the investigation. The TSB will move on to the third and final stage, which is the reporting stage, once this has been completed.

The incident was classified as a Class 3 event by the TSB. This means that it is likely that safety lessons will be identified during the investigation.

Occurrences unique to Canada, subject to the mandatory reporting requirements of the TSB Regulations, fall into three categories of TSB occurrences, Classes 2, 3 and 4.

“There was significant damage to the MV Holiday Island and there was a lot of publicity and the public expectation that an investigation would be carried out. There were also a large number of people directly affected or at risk and there is potential to uncover significant new safety lessons,” the media representative said explaining why this case is considered a Class 3 investigation.

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