VANCOUVER -- The captain of the ill-fated B.C. ferry Queen of the North says he knew early on there was no way to save his ship after it ran aground off the north coast in in the middle of the night in May of 2006.

Colin Henthorne was in bed sleeping when a crew member banged on his door just before the ship collided with an island.

He told a trial in Vancouver that he knew immediately what had happened when the ship shuddered and he rushed to the bridge, where he made a public address announcement ordering everyone to the lifeboats, and closed the watertight doors in the engine room.

Henthorne says as the evacuation progressed, a crew member told him the water was rising toward the car deck and he knew the ship was going to sink.

He says he ran up and down the ship checking for passengers, but found no one left and stepped into the final life boat.

Henthorne -- who was later fired by BC Ferries -- was testifying in the B.C. Supreme Court trial of navigation officer Karl Lilgert, who's accused of criminal negligence causing the death of two passengers who never made if off the ferry.