Who was really in control?

Evidence presented by the navigating officer who was on watch when the BC Ferries’ vessel MV Queen of the North sank is disturbing

To the Editor,

Evidence being presented at the trial of the navigating officer who was on watch when the BC Ferries’ vessel MV Queen of the North sank is disturbing, to say the least. Media reports of court proceedings indicate that the accused officer was alone on the bridge, except for a helmsman who has admitted that she needed assistance to properly steer the ship on leaving Prince Rupert, and that she didn’t understand the mechanism of the autopilot.

When I first went to sea on ocean-going freighters more than a half-century ago, it was standard operating procedure to double-up the bridge watch while traversing congested and narrow waters like the English Channel,  or in the usually fog-bound North Sea when approaching very busy ports in Germany or Holland, for example.

The master would usually double-up with the second mate, while the chief and third mates shared the other watch.

The food fare during the four hours usually consisted of a rather dry sandwich or two; there was never a thought of one of the watch-keepers going below decks to eat, as has been reported at the trial.

The helmsman was always one of your most trustworthy able-bodied seamen (AB);  never would a novice be at the steering wheel in such a situation.

In fact, most shipmasters I came into contact with during my many years at sea would almost always have a favourite expert helmsman at the wheel when entering and leaving port; that was certainly my own modus operandi when I was master, later on in my career at sea.

It’s quite amazing that BC Ferries had a million dollar man running the company—hand-picked from New York City by the BC government, no less—and yet the corporation apparently lacked some very basics in bridge safety.

Bernie Smith,

Parksville

Just Posted

Team Harrison prevails in Port Alberni men’s bonspiel

Annual bonspiel drew 20 teams from out of town

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean… Continue reading

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Mount Arrowsmith skaters get tips from Olympic athlete

Larkyn Austman visited Port Alberni for winter carnival

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

B.C. man creates Indigenous colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Credit card fraud steals $50,000 from Victoria businesses: police

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

Most Read