Tugboat and worker safety, as well as concerns surrounding the raising of the sunken tug Ingenika were recently addressed by Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach with the Minister of Transportation the MP said, on July 31.
“There are some serious concerns about the safety regulations for commercial vessels under 15 tons, and the Ingenika falls into that category. Small, tugboats are being used up and down the coast every single day … there are concerns that they are being used at times in ways that are unsafe and that people are going to sea in conditions that are dangerous,” Bachrach told The Northern View.
“Worker safety is the bottom line. And if there are ways to prevent tragedies like this in the future, we need to, as a country, take a serious look at those and do everything we can to ensure people’s safety,” Bachrach said.
Bachrach, who holds a position on the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Communities committee said he asked the Deputy Minister of Transportation, Michael Keenan, what it would take to raise the Ingenika in order to aid the investigation and provide the families answers to what happened the night of Feb. 11. Captain Troy Pearson and mariner Charley Cragg lost their lives when the tug sank pulling a barge in the Gardner Canal.
Pearson’s widow has been calling for the raising of the tug and initiated a petition addressed to the Canadian Coast and RCMP that has garnered more than 11,000 signatures.
“I did not get a very direct answer from the deputy minister. My understanding is there is no law that requires it to be raised unless it is either an environmental risk or a navigational risk. It’s Transport Canada’s opinion that it doesn’t fall into either of those categories,” Bachrach said.
In a March Transportation Committee meeting, Keenan told Bachrach when incidents do occur fact-finding missions are always completed to determine if investigations should be launched, as in the case of Ingenika.
Apart from the legislation and rules under the Canada Shipping Act. governing circumstance in which a vessel is raised, there are other considerations surrounding the raising of the tug, Keenan said.
“I think one of the key challenges and issues in this particular circumstance is the depth of the water that the tug is resting in. It’s quite deep, which puts people at risk bringing it up. It’s a situation where these factors have to be taken into account by the Coast Guard,” the deputy transport minister said.
Bachrach said he came away from the committee meeting with the knowledge that Transport Canada is taking a look at the regulations for smaller commercial vessels.
“But there are still questions remaining about how they intend to address the concerns that have been raised, and whether the rules they come up with will be tough enough to prevent another disaster like this. The bottom line is that every worker who goes to sea deserves to come home to their families,” Bachrach said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter