Navigator charged in fatal sinking of ferry

The navigating officer on a B.C. Ferries vessel that crashed and sank off B.C.’s North Coast in 2006 was charged yesterday in the deaths of two passengers.

The navigating officer on a B.C. Ferries vessel that crashed and sank off B.C.’s North Coast in 2006 was charged yesterday in the deaths of two passengers.

Karl-Heinz Lilgert was charged in Provincial Court in Vancouver with two counts of criminal negligence causing the deaths of Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette in the sinking of The Queen Of The North.

The vessel, which travelled the North Coast route between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy, struck Gil Island in the early morning of March 22, 2006 and sank 80 minutes later in waters more than 400 metres deep.

Ninety-nine of 101 crew and passengers scrambled onto lifeboats. The bodies of Foisy, 46, and Rosette, 42, of 100 Mile House, have never been recovered.

Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Neil MacKenzie said in a statement that Lilgert was “charged on the basis that he was the navigating officer responsible for steering of the vessel at the time of the incident.

“The available evidence does not support the laying of charges against anyone other than Mr. Lilgert,” MacKenzie said.

Two inquiries, one by B.C. Ferries and one by the Transportation Safety Board, have blamed human error for the sinking. Neither fully explained what happened during the final 14 minutes before the vessel struck Gil Island.

Lilgert’s next scheduled court appearance is April 14.

 
 
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