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Officer charged in BC Ferries sinking

Navigating officer Karl Lilgert has been charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with the sinking of the B.C. Ferries vessel Queen of the North.

Passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette died after the vessel hit the bottom near Gil Island in Wright Sound and sank on March 22, 2006.

“Mr. Lilgert has been charged on the basis that he was the navigating officer responsible for steering of the vessel at the time of the incident,” a statement from the criminal justice branch said. “The available evidence does not support the laying of charges against anyone other than Mr. Lilgert.”

The next appearance is scheduled for April 14 in Vancouver court.

UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: The B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union won't comment on any specific questions about the sinking of the Queen of the North or Karl Lilgert while the matter is before the courts, said union president Richard Goode.

“The Union has not represented Mr. Lilgert in any labour relations matters for some time and we play no role in the criminal proceedings,” he said.

“Mr. Lilgert is entitled to due process and whatever the result, we hope it provides some closure for all passengers who were on the Queen of the North that evening, the families who were affected, particularly the Foisy and Rosette families, and also our Members.”

BCFMWU members provide a valuable service to the travelling public the union is confident in their ability to provide safe and efficient marine transportation to the province, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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