It's been said "To err is human. To forgive, devine." In many cases, I'm forced to agree. We're all prone to making mistakes from time to time, and some of them can be costly. Lord knows that I've made mistakes in the past that have cost tens of thousands of dollars. It happens.
But I'm curious to know what the final results for the sinking of the Queen of the North ferry last March.
The jist of it is this:
- untrained person was at the helm of the Queen of the North during the middle of the night
- said person failed to make a turn at a regular course change location
- 14 minutes later, the vessel grounded on some rocks off Gil Island, flooded and sank
Of the 101 passengers on board, 99 managed to get off safe. Two were unaccounted for, and are presumed dead.
The two people in charge of navigation at the time was the second and fourth officer. They were not on the bridge during this scheduled course change, and by the time they noticed something was wrong, it was too late. To add insult to injury, the second officer outright lied to the captain when he made it to the bridge by saying they tried to "avoid a fishing vessel".
It's been known that there was a romantic affair between the second and fourth officer, but this seems to bear little weight in the matter.
Why was an untrained person left on the bridge to navigate the vessel? Where were the two certified navigation officers? Did they escape from their duties for a few minutes in the hopes of a quickie?
The loss of this vessel has cost the tourism industry an incredible amount of revenue. While there are other ships in service, they have been forced into working harder and longer than before. The ship itself cost millions, and what of the two people lost? Two lives were extinguished all for the sake of human error.
I don't think that these two officers need to be brought out to the town square and lashed for their lapse in judgement, but I would like to know what the end result of this tragedy will be. Some people have waited a whole year for resolution on this matter, and it seems that it will be several months to another year before this chapter can be closed for BC Ferries.