Charges laid in fatal B.C. tugboat sinking that claimed 2 lives

Click to play video: 'Charges laid in fatal tugboat sinking off B.C.’s North Coast'
Charges laid in fatal tugboat sinking off B.C.’s North Coast
WATCH: Charges under the Workers Compensation Act have been laid in connection with a fatal tugboat sinking near Kitimat in 2021. But as Kristen Robinson reports, the victims' families say it's not enough – Feb 7, 2023

Genevieve Cragg is pleased to see charges laid in the tragic tugboat incident in 2021 that claimed two lives, including her son Charley’s.

“It’s not going to bring Charley back,” she told Global News Tuesday.

But she said she will continue her fight to stop small tugboats from hauling massive barges.

“Justice and change in the name of Charley and Troy are vital. “It can’t be for nothing.”

The MV Ingenika sunk on Feb. 11, 2021, while pulling a barge through the Gardner Canal towards the Rio Tinto Kemano Generating Station south of Kitimat, B.C.

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Troy Pearson, 58, and crew member Charley Cragg, 25, died in the frigid waters during a raging storm with wind gusts of more than 70 knots. Only the vessel’s first mate, 19 years old, survived.

Click to play video: '$62,000 in penalties issued after fatal tugboat sinking'
$62,000 in penalties issued after fatal tugboat sinking

Cragg said her son dreamed of working for the Coast Guard and had no training before he boarded the tugboat that fateful day.

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Nearly two years later, the tug’s owner, Wainwright Marine Services and James Geoffrey Bates were charged with eight offences under the Worker’s Compensation Act, including failing to ensure the health and safety of workers, failing to maintain protective equipment, devices or clothing in good condition, failing to provide workers with necessary training and supervision and failing to ensure young or new workers were properly trained on personal protective equipment.

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“Without criminal charges, the message that’s going out to industry and marine workers is that death in the workplace is the cost of doing business,” Cragg said.

Transport Canada has already issued $62,000 in fines to the Ingenika’s owners but the union representing tugboat workers said more needs to be done to ensure industry safety.

“When the price of business currently is $62,000 for two fatalities, that does not act as a deterrent for employers to start doing better,” Jason Woods, ILWU Local 400 Marine Section president said.

Tugs under 15 gross tons are exempt from certain federal regulations.

Judy Carlick-Pearson, who lost her husband Troy, also wants better and properly enforced safety rules.

“From day one, it was the importance of carrying on the legacy and doing right by Troy and Charley because of how diligent and honourable they were as mariners,” she said.

“Two years have passed since these two men were killed in this incident on our coast and yet not a single safety measure has been strengthened,” Taylor Bachrach, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP and NDP Transport Critic said.

Both Cragg and Carlick-Pearson said they will keep fighting until changes are made.

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