Transportation Safety Board scours wreck of downed prawn boat

Transportation Safety Board officials inspected the prawn boat Jessie G on Tuesday in Port Alberni to find out what made her sink on May 4.

Transportation Ssfety Board officials were in Port Alberni Tuesday to scour the wreck of the prawn boat Jessie G

Officials from the Transportation Safety Board scoured the wreck of the prawn boat Jessie G on Tuesday in Port Alberni to find out what made her sink on May 4.

Officials surveyed the 71-year-old boat in dry dock at Alberni Engineering and conducted interviews as part of their investigation on Tuesday.

No specific cause has been determined yet, TSB marine investigator Glen Budden said.

“We’ll take it back to our office now to piece together the sequence of events and look at the contributing factors around what happened,” he said.

The Coast Guard at Tofino received a distress call from the 42-foot vessel Jesse G just before 5:30 p.m. on May 4 after it capsized off Cape Beale.

Prawn fishermen clung to the hull of the boat for 20 minutes before being rescued. One man suffered a cut hand but no other injuries were reported.

Coast Guard officials speculated that a combination of rough weather and shifting gear caused the vessel to capsize.

The process won’t yield immediate answers, which could take up to one year, Budden said.

“We’ll be assessing things and determining how deep the investigation should go and how thorough it should be,” Budden said.

The initial report will be sent to Ottawa, where officials will determine whether a full investigation or safety advisory is warranted.

“We have a ways to go yet,” Budden said.

The boat meanwhile will be released to its owner and insurance adjuster, Budden said.

“The damage to the hull is extensive,” Budden said. “Her prawning days are over.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

— With files from the Parksville Qualicum Beach News