Transportation Safety Board planning to investigate tugboat accident

Joshua Azizi


The Transportation Safety Board is planning to conduct an investigation into the sinking of the Ingenika tugboat that sank south of Kitimat in February and caused the deaths of two men.

The board had initially conducted a data-collection investigation, but Media Relations Specialist Chris Krepski told CFTK today that they're now planning to conduct a more fulsome investigation that could potentially look into aspects such as contributing factors or safety deficiencies.

He said that a page for the investigation will soon be up on the board's website and that the results of the investigation will be documented in a report.

This news comes shortly after a petition in support of retrieving the tugboat surpassed 10,000 signatures.

The petition was started by Judy Carlick Pearson, whose husband was killed in the tragic accident. She says retrieving the boat could provide answers about how the accident happened.

"It's just like a car accident, it's just like a weapon in any case that you're in. We don't know if there's anything there, but we have nothing to lose at this point. The biggest part of our life is gone and if there's answers on that tug that indicate there was malfunctions or deficiencies or instability, then we'll have a better idea of what happened."

The petition caught the attention of Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, who reached out to Carlick Pearson to express his condolences and expressed concerns over what he describes as a lack of regulations for smaller tugboats.

He plans to reach out to Transport Canada and Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra to discuss the sunken vessel.

"I'm going to be encouraging them to do everything in their power to bring the ship up, to get the answers that the family needs, and that the investigation needs. I think it's of utmost importance -- there are so many men and women who go to work on the water every single day, and those workers deserve to know that there are regulations in place to keep them safe."

In an e-mailed statement to CFTK, Transport Canada said the depth of water in the Garnder Canal could make retrieving the tugboat difficult and possibly quite dangerous -- however, they said they would support raising the boat if the Transportation Safety Board required it.

Krepski said that he does not if the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the accident might include retrieving the tugboat.

RCMP North Division spokesperson Madonna Saunderson also said that an RCMP investigation into the incident is active and ongoing.

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