Brotherhood and solidarity were in full force in Mariners Park on Feb. 10 at the second-anniversary memorial of the sinking of the tugboat Ingenika.
Mourners remembered the tug boat captain Troy Pearson and deckhand Charley Cragg, who lost their lives in the tragedy on Feb. 11, 2021, near Kitimat.
More than 60 people attended the gathering, including family, union leaders and Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach, all calling for tighter restrictions on tugboat safety.
Judy Carlick Pearson, widow of the tugboat captain, said the fight for regulatory changes, to ensure safety, needs to continue so future mariners like her son, Carver are safe on the water.
“Continue to fight, continue to support us. And hopefully, soon you’re going to see those big changes that are going to set a precedent,” Carlick Pearson said.
Jason Woods, ILWU Local 400 president, spoke on behalf of Cragg’s mom.
“Every month on the 10th at noon, I say to Charley, ‘don’t get on that boat.’ And every 11th of each month at 2:00 p.m. I walk through my front door to find a police officer in my kitchen about to tell me that the Ingenika capsized and that my son did not survive,” Genevive Cragg stated in a letter read by Woods.
Woods thanked attendees for keeping the issue at the forefront and said progress wouldn’t be happening without the support of the public and media.
“So please lend your voices to ours because we are making changes. Two years to the day, two sailors lost their lives needlessly. Canada can do better.”
“[Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra] promised … Canada is going to deliver the highest level of safety for marine. We need to keep him to this promise – Because we deserve it.”
“… We work day and night, through storms, through the weather. We miss our family, we miss our friends, but that’s the price we pay to put food on the table for our loved ones. It shouldn’t be hard. It shouldn’t be dangerous,” Woods said.
No job and death on the job happen in isolation, said Herminder Singh Kailley, secretary-treasurer of the BC Labour Federation, adding that “pain and loss radiate outwards like ripples.”
“We need to do better … we need to do a better job of making sure that safety regulations are strengthened so when we have workers that die due to work-related causes, we need to make sure they stay in our minds,” he said.
“Events like this, give us the push and the drive to do better and so it’s a gathering, it’s organizing, it’s getting people educated on what happened, what needs to happen, how we move forward so this kind of tragedy never happens again.”
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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