Transportation and Works
June 1, 2018

Independent Risk Assessment Recommends Passengers Vacate Vehicles on Provincial Ferries

An independent risk assessment has recommended that the Department of Transportation and Works continue requiring passengers to vacate their vehicles while travelling on the intra-provincial ferry fleet.

The study, conducted in April by Lloyd’s Register, assessed hazards and risks to passengers who remained in their vehicles compared to passengers who vacated their vehicles while the ferries were in transit. The assessment was completed following consultations with the Bell Island ferry users committee, the department, InclusionNL and Eastern Health and visits to the MV Legionnaire and MV Flanders.

The report concluded that:

  • Risks associated with passengers vacating their vehicles were considered low as reasonably practical and included scenarios such as a vehicle striking a passenger on the vehicle deck and passengers returning to their vehicles before being permitted to leave the passenger lounges being injured if the vessel struck the dock;
  • Passengers who remained in their vehicles during transit were at greater risk resulting from scenarios such as vehicle fires, power failures, and emergencies requiring passengers to evacuate the vessel; and
  • Due to the risks associated with passengers remaining in their vehicles and the medical community preferring not to issue medical passes, exceptions cannot be made for patients undergoing serious medical treatments.

The report recommended crews continue to accommodate passengers with the use of a secluded room, where available. It also recommend that the department continue to provide more training to crews, help ferry users understand the benefits of safety related policies with the help of medical and accessibility groups, practice emergency procedures with crews to simulate actual situations, and implement separate areas in the passenger lounges, where possible, that can be used by passengers with special medical conditions.

The study was completed following requests from the Bell Island ferry users committee to allow passengers with medical conditions and mobility challenges to remain in their vehicles during trips.

The assessment report can be viewed at: PDF Icon

“The safety of passengers and crews on our ferry fleet must be a top priority for our department. This report supports our position that passengers should vacate their vehicles, but we continue to find ways to improve safety practices and we anticipate fully implementing all recommendations in the report in the near future.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
Minister of Transportation and Works

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Assessment Report from Lloyd’s Register PDF Icon

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Media contact
Rod Drover
Transportation and Works
709-729-1758, 730-4607

2018 06 01                              1:25 p.m.