The story of the Ingenika tugboat sinking near Kitimat has just gone national, with Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach demanding “immediate action” in the House of Commons.
“This tragic incident has brought to light the lack of regulations for tugboats below 15 tons,” Bachrach said to Parliament this week. “Workers have shared stories of poor maintenance inadequate training and tugs operating in unsafe conditions, we must use the lessons from this tragedy to improve safety for all tugboat crews operating on our coasts.”
Bachrach was referring to the tugboat accident earlier this year that resulted in two of its three crew members dying. Since then, Transport Canada has opened an investigation, and maritime experts have raised questions about “antiquated” federal regulations that could be putting workers’ lives in danger.
In his speech to Parliament, Bachrach asked, “will the minister commit to immediate action so that every worker who goes to sea comes home safely to their families?”
Federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said “our heart goes out to the families of those who suffered in that accident.” He said that he’s working with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Bernadette Jordan “on addressing the situation,” but did not provide any specifics.
Commenters on Bachrach’s Facebook post also demanded action.
“Transport Canada has knowingly turned a blind eye to the issue of dangerous substandard towing operations along the BC Coast for more than a decade,” wrote Peter Lahay, National Coordinator with the International Transport Workers Federation Canada.