Tugboat runs aground in same B.C. waterway where 2 killed earlier this year


Transport Canada and WorkSafeBC are investigating after a worker says he was injured in a tugboat accident on a vessel travelling through the Gardner Canal this week.

Irvin Joseph was serving as a deck hand on the tug Cadal on Nov. 2, hauling a barge from Kitimat to Kemano.

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The crew was eating dinner around 7 p.m. and another deckhand was on watch when the Wainright Marine tugboat ran aground at Rix Island in the Gardner Canal.

“He looked up and noticed that we were headed right for the beach,” Joseph said.

“It’s definitely a scary moment, that’s for sure.”

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The tug’s captain was able to reverse the vessel, then used it to ram the barge it was towing to prevent it from also running aground, Joseph said.

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Deadly B.C. tugboat sinking prompts calls for changes to marine safety regulations

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“He hit it pretty hard and I tightened up pretty good. I believe this is where my injury came from,” he said, explaining he’s since sought treatment for severe neck pain.

The crew checked the vessel over to ensure it wasn’t taking on water, then completed their run to Kemano.

“It just really reminded me like what happened with the accident in February,” he said.

Feb. 11 is when the Ingenika, another tug operated by Wainright Marine, went down in stormy weather in the Gardner Canal while also towing a barge from Kitimat to Kemano.

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Tugboat ‘incident’ near Kitimat, B.C., leaves two men dead: RCMP

Charley Cragg, a 25-year-old on his first day on the job, died, along with the vessel’s captain. The tug’s 19-year-old first mate survived.

The cause of that incident remains under investigation, but Cragg’s mother has since called for tighter regulation of the industry, particularly for smaller tugs.

Jason Woods, president of the ILWU Local 400 Marine Section, said he remains concerned about a lack of training across the sector.

“Often this ‘get it done’ attitude leads to situations like this,” he said.

“I think lack of training and certification is clearly apparent because no one is claiming any kind of mechanical problem or weather problem, this is just failure to keep proper watch. There’s absolutely no reason to run aground when you’re going between point A and point B.”

Global News has requested comment from Wainright Marine.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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