Big risks for divers on capsized boat --expert

Greg Bennett
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The capsized hull of the Miss Ally poses dangers for divers.

By Greg Bennett

The Coast Guard

An open ocean dive underneath the capsized Miss Ally would be risky, but could be accomplished with the right equipment, says a commercial diving expert.

Shawn MacPhail, the operations manager of Dominion Diving, Canada’s largest diving company, said divers would be in extreme danger underneath or inside the vessel until it was stabilized.

He explained that the vessel would have been floating on pockets of air that could be affected by the bubbles from the diver’s exhaled gas.

“It could sink in 20 seconds,” said MacPhail. “It is very dangerous.”

Unless stabilized by air bags or other means, he said diving underneath a capsized vessel in the open ocean was an extreme risk.

He suggested that what could be done on relatively short notice was to have divers swim alongside the vessel and look into the wheelhouse.

“They could assess if the life rafts were deployed,” he said, noting that if missing fishermen’s bodies were in the wheelhouse, that divers would likely have been able to at least see them.

MacPhail said it is only a matter of time before the capsized vessel slips beneath the waves unless stabilized.

“Eventually it will sink. It is inevitable,” he said.


Organizations: Coast Guard, Dominion Diving

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Navy guy
    February 24, 2013 - 10:28

    The sea state is still not the best for diving or even getting close to the hull without a collison. The Military and other agencies did what could be done over the past week. I don't know how many of the 'know it alls' out there have taken a sea survival course, but the odds were not good even within 24 hrs of this accident. The seas out there were 60ft at times not to mention the 30-37 degree sea surface temperature.

  • McCann
    February 23, 2013 - 15:12

    why couldnt we have got divers out there before now and why is it that on the news they sad they had the drag surcurd

  • nickerson
    February 23, 2013 - 14:36

    So why can't the coast guard use their high tec gear attach themselves to the miss ally to secure it from sinking????isn't that possible???

    • Atwood
      February 23, 2013 - 15:50

      The coastguards job is to rescue people who are in danger. There will be no people inside of the boat who are still alive and therefore this is a recovery mission. If any government agency is going to do anything it will have to be the navy.

  • S Smith
    February 23, 2013 - 13:38

    So with all that being said, I'm hoping that the boat WILL, indeed be stabalized, to prevent it from sinking. I hope that, after all these families have been through, the authorites in charge, will take every precaution to keep the boat afloat. After all, this is the break the family was hoping for.