CANSO:The Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the RCMP are investigating the fatal grounding of a fishing boat last week.
The body of the fourth person who was on the Fisherman’s Provider II was recovered at approximately 8:30 a.m. on February 9 by local fishermen.
The vessel struck what is commonly known as “Frying Pan Shoal,” near Canso, at approximately 8 p.m. on February 6. Three men were rescued that evening from the boat while a fourth remained onboard. The rescue effort continued in the evening and the following day by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC).
On February 8, the matter was returned to the RCMP’s jurisdiction as a missing persons investigation. This was after the JRCC had exhausted its efforts to recover the body of 64-year-old Roger Stoddard, the captain of the vessel.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada deployed a team of investigators to Sydney on February 8 following the grounding of the Fisherman’s Provider II. Pierre Murray, TSB’s manager of regional operations, said the vessel left Canso on February 6 and ran aground a few minutes later.
“Three crew members were rescued by other fishermen and then the captain was recovered today, deceased, in his boat,” said Murray.
When asked why the captain stayed with the ship, Murray said “that’s something the investigators are still looking into.”
“We have a team of investigators right now in Canso,” Murray said on February 9. “They have interviewed survivors and they’re going to keep doing an investigation and try to determine that exact question; why the boat ran aground and why didn’t the captain leave the boat while it was possible.”
Guysborough District RCMP will continue to work with partner agencies in the investigation of the fatality. On February 12, RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said police were awaiting autopsy results.
Following the incident, Guysborough Inshore Fishermen’s Association manager Ginny Boudreau said Stoddard fished out of Canso for a number of years, and while he was not a member of the local association, a number of members knew who he was.
“After the [JRCC] completed their rescue process and protocol, then it was turned over to the RCMP as a missing person [case],” Boudreau explained, “then the local fishermen and a friend of Mr. Stoddard’s went to the vessel and retrieved the body.”
Boudreau said members were emotional and held a moment of silence.
“I think the fishermen that knew him and even the fishermen that weren’t close friends, whenever there’s an accident like that, they can relate to it because they are on the water,” said Boudreau. “They know the dangers that are there every day and how quick an accident can happen.”
Boudreau added the incident may have identified a need in the fishing industry for more information on the rescue and recovery process.
“Maybe as a follow up, it may be worthwhile to have a representative from the Coast Guard come in and explain to the guys what the process is,” she noted. “We can’t prevent that accident from happening, but God forbid if there’s another one at least, we’re more aware and more familiar with what the process is.”