Crew argued over rules for bridge staffing on Queen of the North
The man at the helm of the B.C. ferry the night it sank told the jury at his criminal negligence trial that he should have taken the boat off of autopilot himself instead relying on the only other person on the bridge. (CTV)
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 7:46AM EST
VANCOUVER -- A senior officer aboard the ill-fated Queen of the North says there were disagreements among colleagues about federal staffing rules for the ship's bridge.
Richard St. Pierre took the stand in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday during the trial of Karl Lilgert, who stands charged with criminal negligence causing death.
The ferry sank in March 2006 after it missed a critical turn and collided with an island off the province's northwest coast.
St. Pierre was shown a BC Ferries document from two years before the crash that indicates three people were required to be on the ferry's bridge in certain conditions.
A Crown lawyer read the conditions that included restricted visibility, congested traffic density, hazardous navigational situations, the local prohibition of the use of auto pilot and at night.
St. Pierre says he routinely staffed the bridge with only two people navigating and steering the ship at night but the third person was better used elsewhere.
While 99 people survived the collision, the bodies of passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette were never recovered.