Wainwright Marine has been fined $52,000 by Transport Canada for its role in the sinking of the tugboat Ingenika in 2021 which claimed the lives of two men and left a third survivor.
Transport Canada issued the fine to the Prince Rupert tug boat and marine service provider on Sept. 22, as well as an additional $10,000 fine to its parent company Bates Properties Ltd.
Wainwright was sanctioned for its part under the Canada Shipping Act for failing to ensure the vessel was staffed with a sufficient and competent crew; failing to ensure the person employed on board holds a certificate for their position and that the certificate complies with terms and conditions; and jeopardizing the safety of a vessel or persons on board.
The decision has been met with outrage by the families of Prince Rupert man, skipper Troy Pearson who was an experienced mariner, and Charlie Cragg whose first week it was on the job when they both died on Feb. 11, 2021. A third Prince Rupert man, Zac Dolan, swam to shore and survived.
“I’m glad Transport Canada determined Wainwright Marine was negligent in its operations but I’m very disappointed the maximum fine for such negligence is only $60,000,” said the skipper’s wife, Judy Carlick-Pearson. “How will companies ever learn if they get a slap on the hand?”
The MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Taylor Bachrach, said in a Sept. 27 press release the fine is not enough to protect mariners. He has met several times with transport minister Omar Alghabra to push for action on tugboat safety.
“The minister says he’s working on new regulations but every day that goes by is another day mariners are at risk,” Bachrach said. “The minister should issue orders under existing legislation to improve safety while the full regulations are being developed.”
Currently, no certification is required for commercial vessels under 15 tons (or those modified to fit that class), no specific training is required for crew members, and there is no limit on the size of barges that can be towed.
The Enginka was transporting industrial equipment to a Kitimat site at the time it sunk in the Gardner Canal. The tug has not been recovered despite calls from the families and First Nations to raise the vessel.
“These penalties are only the start. Ultimately, we need to see change within Canada’s marine shipping industry, specifically related to the tugs and crews working tirelessly up and down B.C.’s coastal waters,” said Genevieve Cragg, the mother of Charley Cragg.
Families are hoping that the maximum fines will be raised from the current $60,000 cap.
“Our fight for justice isn’t over. We will continue to promote that more changes be made. Ultimately, fines of such a low value need to be increased to at least $250,000. If not, companies won’t feel the brunt and will continue to be negligent,” said Carlick-Pearson.
With files from K-J Millar