Phone cord may have caused tanker's grounding, TSB says

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a telephone cord brushing a sensitive touch screen may have caused a fuel tanker to run aground near Cornwall, Ont., last spring.

No fuel spilled when Damia Desgagnés ran aground in St. Lawrence River last June

The Transportation Safety Board has released a report into the grounding of the Damia Desgagnés in the St. Lawrence River last June. (Reno Patry/Radio-Canada)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a telephone cord brushing a sensitive touch screen may have caused a fuel tanker to run aground near Cornwall, Ont., last spring.

The Damia Desgagnés ran aground between Iroquois, Ont., and Morrisburg, Ont.,late June 15, 2017, after what was described at the time as an engine failure.

No fuel spilled into the water and the ship suffered no damage in the incident. It was refloated June 17.

In a report released Wednesday, the TSB said the engine cut off after the main shutdown button was accidentally pressed.

Investigators said the control system's touchscreen is highly sensitive and could have been accidentally activated by a telephone cord located next to it.

The touchscreen and telephone cord that may have caused the engine to shut down are circled here. (Transportation Safety Board)

What's more, the TSB said a message warning that the engine was about to shut down was confusing, and testing after the incident showed the shutdown couldn't have been reversed anyway.

"The message did not specify that the engine was about to shut down, nor did it indicate how the shutdown was activated or from where (bridge, engine room, emergency stop, etc.,)" the report said.

The warning displayed after the engine shutdown control was accidentally engaged was confusing, the TSB found. (Transportation Safety Board)

The incident is a reminder to crews to get to know their vessel's controls, including any warning messages, the TSB said.