Ferry's 'black box' shows routine voyage until missed turn off B.C. coast: trial

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The trial of a crew member charged in a deadly ferry sinking off the B.C. coast has heard that data recorded about the ship's final voyage showed everything was routine until the vessel missed a turn that sent it sailing straight into an island.

The Queen of the North sank in March 2006 and fourth officer Karl Lilgert is on trial for criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers.

Lee Alexander, an expert in electronic navigation systems, has been called as an expert witness to analyze data recorded from the ship's electronic chart system, which he says would be like an airplane's black box.

Alexander says the information, which includes GPS data tracking the ship's position, depicts a routine voyage that looked very similar to dozens of previous sailings.

But Alexander says just after midnight on March 22, the ship failed to make a scheduled left turn and instead continued on a straight path towards Gil Island.

The ship's electronic chart system has become a central focus in the case, with the Crown pointing to it while arguing Lilgert took no action to avoid the island before the collision and the defence suggesting it was among several pieces of inadequate equipment on the ferry's bridge.