Board won’t predict when it will complete ferry report

  • Oct. 30, 2006 7:00 a.m.

The Transportation Safety Board says it is working hard on its report on the Queen of the North sinking, but won’t make any estimates about when the report will be completed.
Spokesperson John Cottreau said a team of investigators has collected a “mountain of information” about the March 22 sinking, analyzed it, and is now putting together individual sections of the draft report.
The next step, he said, will be for the team members to get together again and stitch the information together into a final report. Some investigators are working out of the safety board’s Vancouver office, while others work at the head office in Hull, Quebec.
The final report “will be a thorough examination of the occurrence to determine what happened, how it happened and how we can prevent it from happening again,” Mr. Cottreau said. The entire report will be released to the public, when it’s complete.
The Queen of the North sank in the Inside Passage after crashing into Gil Island. Two passengers are believed to have died, while 99 passengers and crew were rescued.
The Transportation Safety Board report must not assign fault or blame for the incident, but Mr. Cottreau said that restriction won’t stop investigators from explaining what happened, even if fault could be inferred from the explanation.
The Transportation Safety Board is currently looking into several accidents, Mr. Cottreau said, but the Queen of the North is one of its biggest investigations. It qualifies as a major investigation, in the order of the board’s examination of what caused a Swissair plane to crash off Nova Scotia in 1998, he said.
Meanwhile, the union representing ferry workers says it will release its own report into the incident.
BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union president Jackie Miller said the report will be compiled from voluntary submissions from crew members who were on the ferry the night it sank. The report will also look into what has happened to crew members since the tragedy. Ms Miller said some are still struggling with the emotional aftermath.
According to the union, the report will be released within the next month.