A row of roses and a circle of boats marked the life of Troy Pearson tugboat captain, along Prince Rupert’s waterfront on July 31.
More than 35 vessels lined up across the harbour with onlookers standing on the esplanade to attend the memorial ceremony honouring Pearson, who perished at sea, along with fellow mariner Charley Cragg, in a Feb. 11 tugboat sinking just outside of Kitimat. A third man, Zac Dolan survived.
Horns blasted across the Prince Rupert waters as vessels circled, then trailed out to the midst of the harbour for the dispersing of Pearson’s ashes.
Judy Carlick Pearson, wife of the tugboat captain told The Northern View there was no more fitting way to commemorate her husband, but even after the memorial ceremony is over there is more work to be done to improve marine safety.
The widow, who has been waiting more than six months for answers to what exactly happened that fateful night said the memory of her husband and recognition of his life on the water will live on in the establishment of a marine school.
The Pearson School of Marine Safety has been established as a non-profit organization and is in the development stages. Funding for the setup is in the process with the first year and set up costs between $350,000 to $500,000 she estimates, for the education facility that may be open as early as the winter of 2021.
“The courses that we’re offering will not just be professional marine courses. We also want to offer courses to anyone who has a vessel, whether it’s a pleasure craft, ski boat, kayak, anything,” she said with courses being offered to the young right up to professional mariners.
“As a resident of a community that lives on the water, I think we need to make sure that our industry and our people are always in safe hands.”
“Everything that’s being done to make sure that Troy’s legacy lives on like the pulling of the tug, the marine school, the memorial are all a big dedication to Troy … After the memorial, it’s not going to be finished. We have a long way to go and until then we ask for your support to not forget Charley and Troy.”
Carlick Pearson has been calling on Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, and WorkSafe BC to toughen regulations and raise the tug so answers into the tragedy can perhaps be provided. At this time the tug is still not specifically located after sinking in the Gardner Channel while towing a barge from Kitimat to Kemano.
“We don’t want an incident like this to happen to anyone else. We want to ensure that all the regulations are in place so that nobody else is put at risk, and that people are held accountable for anything that is unsafe. We need to keep our mariners safe,” Carlick Pearson said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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