Thursday, April 27, 2023

MP Taylor Bachrach continues push for stronger tugboat safety measures

Tomorrow is the Day of National Mourning,  an event marked Nationally across the country and dedicated to those who have lost their lives while at work.

Today during Question Period in the House of Commons, NDP Transport Critic and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach once again, called on the Liberal Government to improve safety regulations for tugboats.

The MP speaking to the delay in implementation of recommendations from a Transportation Safety Board report from earlier this year following the 2021 deaths of Troy Pearson and Charlie Cragg on the tugboat Ingenika. 

That report, released on March 8th made four recommendations to protect mariner safety. 

Expand its surveillance program to include regular inspections of tugs of 15 gross tonnage or less to verify that these vessels are complying with regulatory requirements.

Require authorized representatives of tugs of 15 GT or less to assess the risks present in their operations, including the suitability of their tugs for the specific towing operations they are undertaking. 

The TSB also had recommendations for the Pacific Pilotage Authority: 

Verify that eligibility requirements are met before issuing pilotage waivers to companies operating tugs in compulsory pilotage areas. 

Implement a process to verify ongoing compliance with waiver conditions by companies operating tugs in compulsory pilotage areas. 

The full report can be reviewed here.

In his time in the House today, the MP reminded the Commons of the tragedy on the Gardner Canal two years ago and the lack of movement towards implementing safety recommendations that came out the Transportation Safety Board Investigation. 

 “Tomorrow is the National Day of Mourning — a day when we remember those who have been killed or injured on the job. Workers like Troy Pearson and Charlie Cragg who were killed when the tugboat Ingenika sank near Kitimat. 

It’s been a month and a half since the Transportation Safety Board issued four recommendations to prevent similar deaths. Every day, workers are boarding vessels just like the Ingenika. Their lives hang in the balance. 

Will the minister stand today and finally commit to implementing all four recommendations?”

The short reply from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra didn't provide for a timeline as to when the recommendations would be delivered by way of action as recommended.

Mr. Bachrach's Question and the reply from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra cane be viewed from the question Period video replay starting at the thirty minute mark.

More background on the 2021 sinking can be explored through our archive page.

Items of interest from the House of Commons can be reviewed here.

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