A petition calling on the Canadian Coast Guard to raise the sunken tug MV Ingenika has garnered just less than 10,000 signatures on March 12 since it was first launched on March 1. The marine vessel sank near Kitimat on Feb. 11 claiming the lives of Prince Rupert’s Troy Pearson and Charlie Cragg from the Vancouver area. A third man, Zach Dolan from Prince Rupert survived.
The petition initiated by Judy Carlick-Pearson wife of the tug boat captain said the tug needs to be raised so questions can be answered and evidence of why the boat sank can be retrieved. However, she said the RCMP told her they can not afford to raise it, and the Coast Guard has said it not necessary.
The tug is currently sitting at the bottom of the Gardiner Channel just outside of Kitimat in Haisla territory and she is also concerned about environmental factors from the 15,000 litres of fuel onboard impacting the fish and wildlife, she said.
“We have so many questions about what happened that night. We feel that the tug will not only answer questions but give us some closure as well,” Carlick Pearson said in the change.org petition. “If they recover the tug, they may find out why that tugboat sunk.”
“The tug went down … just after midnight on Feb. 11, and tug boats primarily don’t go down. They are very resilient and very buoyant and stable. They are able to keel over to one side or the other but most of the time they correct themselves,” Carlick-Pearson told The Northern View.
The concern is high that the families will never know why the tug sank or have answers as to what happened until the vessel is brought up.
“The RCMP are saying that they could go down and take some pictures of the tug and they’ll see different things, but it will be nothing like pulling the tug up because it is just obstructed down there. The view is obstructed. There is a lot of corrosion happening,” she said. “If they were to pull it up we’d be able to possibly get some evidence as to what happened that night because it was just a freak accident.”
“It was something that should not have happened. The weather was horrific. Yeah, it was just not good.”
Carlick-Pearson said the weather conditions were less than ideal when the 35 ft. tug was pulling a 200 ft. fully loaded barge in up to 80-mile winds and between -20 C to -40 C temperatures.
Having been together for more than 24 years and married for 15 years with a 12-year-old son, she knew her husband and his ways well, she said.
“Troy is a very cautious methodical mariner. He would never put himself in harm’s way, especially if there were other people on board” she said. “Onboard he had an 18-year-old kid with one year experience and he had a 26-year-old kid with not one day of experience on a tugboat. It was his first day on a tug.”
“Every single industry on the water is different … Like, it could be the difference between driving a car on the road and driving a semi on the highway. It’s so different. Tugboats are very complex. They’re very technical. They’re not like the steering wheel and gas and you just go. It is way different than a regular vessel,” the tug boat captain’s wife said.
Carlick-Pearson said the weather conditions were less than ideal with the 35 foot tug pulling a 200 foot fully loaded barge in up to 80-mile winds and between -20 C to -40 C temperatures.
“Troy has been on the water for a better part of his life. The first time he went out fishing was when he was eight years old. So he knows — he knows boats and vessels and but at the same time, it’s a different beast. Charlie also was an avid Mariner, same thing,” she said.
Judy said she hasn’t heard anything from the tug’s owners Wainright Marine Services Ltd. and also nothing from the Coast Guard. Not many involved have reached out to her, she said. Wainright Marine did bring her a bouquet of flowers soon after the incident, but she has heard nothing from the management and only received her husband’s final paycheck last week. She has been in contact with Cragg’s family which has been an emotional support for her, and the police investigation team has made contact with her.
“I don’t know about the survivor. I have no clue,” she said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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