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Leviathan II skipper had eye condition

Five Britons drowned on a ship captained by a man with a compromised visual field, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board has found


A Transportation Safety Board of Canada report has revealed that the captain of a boat that sunk in 2015, killing five Britons, had an undeclared eye condition.

The report found that, while the eye condition was not the cause of the accident, there was a discrepancy between the skipper’s vision as recorded in private eye examinations and as reported through Transport Canada’s marine medical examinations. 

The skipper did not declare any eye conditions to the marine medical examiner. 

However, an independent review by an ophthalmologist found that the captain had an eye condition that would have made it difficult to acquire a normal visual image in all parts of his visual field. The eye condition is not specified in the report. 

The Leviathan II whale-watching boat sunk off the Canadian coast in October 2015 with 27 people on board. There were six fatalities as a result of the accident and 2000 litres of fuel leaked into the ocean.  

The report found that the cause of the accident was a large breaking wave that the crew unsuccessfully attempted to avoid. Recommendations by the Transportation Safety Board included that commercial passenger vessels should identify areas and conditions that were conducive to formation of hazardous waves and adopt risk mitigation strategies. 

Image credit: David Bly