Marine transportation safety investigation M20A0160

Updated in October 2020 : This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Marine accident

Fishing vessel Sarah Anne
Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

The occurrence

On , the fishing vessel Sarah Anne, with four people on board, was reported overdue from a fishing trip in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The vessel departed St. Lawrence, NL, shortly after midnight and was reported overdue to the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre in Placentia, NL, around 8 p.m., approximately three hours after the crew was expected to return. A surface search was launched using several vessels and aircraft. The bodies of three crew members were recovered the following day. Several pieces of debris from the vessel were located. The fourth body was recovered on June 6, 2020. The vessel was not recovered. The TSB is investigating.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence



Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Shannon Pittman

Shannon Pittman has been employed as an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) since 2014. Prior to joining the TSB, Mr. Pittman spent 20 years with the Canadian Coast Guard operating on Canada’s Atlantic coast and throughout the Arctic on search and rescue, icebreaking, buoy tending, and science research vessels. Mr. Pittman holds a Master Mariner certificate as well as a Bachelor of Technology–Nautical Science from the Canadian Coast Guard College/University College of Cape Breton in Sydney, Nova Scotia.


Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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