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Ferry worker apologizes, two years later Add to ...

But the mystery remains about exactly what happened in the crucial 14 minutes after the ship should have changed course and before it hit the island.

Lawyer David Varty, representing most of the 53 surviving passengers in a class-action suit against B.C. Ferries, said his clients still expect answers that are not contained in yesterday's report.

"Private conversations, by themselves, don't prevent the crew on an aircraft from giving you a safe flight; they don't prevent crew in most transportation vessels from trains and ships from conducting a safe voyage," he said. "There's something more that we need to know about those conversations."

B.C. Ferries already has largely implemented most of the report's recommendations, the company noted yesterday, and 17 of its vessels now carry the data recorders.

'Deeply sorry'

Karl Lilgert, 4th Officer on the ill-fated Queen of the North and a central figure in the ship's sinking, issued his own statement yesterday with the release of the Transportation Safety Board report.

To everyone that was impacted by the sinking of the Queen of the North.

I regret this tragic accident occurred and its impact on all involved.

I continue to grieve for the missing persons and would with all my heart exchange my life for theirs.

I am sorry for the children of the missing persons and their families.

I am sorry for the passengers who survived, for their trauma and loss.

I am sorry for my shipmates for having to go through this tragic traumatic accident, who did everything they could.

I am sorry for all involved that still to this day are having difficulty because of this traumatic accident.

I am sorry to BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union for the grief and financial strain this disaster has created. I feel humble and indebted for the unconditional support I have received from them.

I am sorry for BC Ferries for having to deal with this tragedy.

I am sorry for my family and friends that were impacted by this tragic accident. I am grateful for your understanding and support.

I am thankful for the community of Hartley Bay who opened their community and assisted the rescue.

Words are inadequate for the sorrow and grief I feel. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about everyone that was impacted by this tragic accident. For all of this I am deeply sorry.


Karl Lilgert

Sinking chronology


March 21, 8 p.m. Queen of the North departs Prince Rupert southbound for Port Hardy on Vancouver Island carrying 101 passengers and crew.

12:02 a.m. Fourth Officer Karl Lilgert reports the ferry is approaching Sainty Point to ship traffic controllers in Prince Rupert. At Sainty Point, the ship was supposed to make a course correction. Mr. Lilgert resumes a "personal conversation" with Quartermaster Karen Bricker.

12:07 a.m. Queen of the North sails past Sainty Point and into Wright Sound. No course correction has been made.

12:20 a.m. The vessel is now 13 minutes past the course correction point. Mr. Lilgert orders a 109-degree course change. Ms. Bricker questions it but when she stands to make the change, she looks up and sees trees. Mr. Lilgert orders her to switch from autopilot to hand steering, but Ms. Bricker says she doesn't know how.

12:21 a.m. Queen of the North strikes Gil Island. Water quickly pours into the hull. Evacuation of passenger and crew begins.

12:26 a.m. Queen of the North advises Prince Rupert Traffic that the vessel is aground and immediate help is needed.

12:27 a.m. Mayday call is made.

1:40 a.m. Queen of the North slips under water.

March 26-28 B.C. Ferries contracts manned submersible, which locates the wreck resting upright on its keel in 425 metres of water.

June 19-25 TSB conducts remote dive on the wreck, successfully recovering electronic chart system.


March 26 B.C. Ferries releases findings of its own investigation, concluding "human errors were primary cause of the sinking."

April 23 B.C. Ferries provides TSB with copies of statutory declarations from two B.C. Ferries employees indicating the quartermaster had been overheard saying she was alone on the bridge. The TSB reinterviews key witnesses.

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