The navigating officer in the Queen of the North ferry sinking, Karl Lilgert, has been sentenced to four years in jail and is banned from operating any vessel for the next 10 years.
Lilgert was convicted with negligence causing death in the disappearance of two passengers – Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette, who have not been found – in the ferry’s sinking on March 22, 2006. Lilgert was originally charged in 2010 and his trial began in January, 2013. He was found guilty of criminal negligence in May.
Monday’s decision was handed down by B.C. Supreme Court by Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein. She called Lilgert’s actions “an extreme and catastrophic dereliction of duty.”
Lilgert was on the ferry’s bridge during the accident, when the Queen of the North missed a turn and struck Gil Island.
Lilgert is seeking an appeal, according to reports. Prior to the accident, he had no criminal record or driving infractions.
According to CTV, “(Crown) lawyers alleged Lilgert was distracted by the presence of his former lover on the bridge. Quartermaster Karen Briker was alone with Lilgert at the time of the sinking. The couple had ended their relationship just weeks before the voyage.”
The Crown was asking for six years in jail and a lifetime ban on operating a vessel.
*Photos below courtesy of the Transportation Safety Board.
Aerial view of Queen of the North sailing through the Inside Passage on the run from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy.
View from Queen of the North as it approached the area where the ship would later run aground.