Officers like accused had responsibility to make sure they knew the ship: trial

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

VANCOUVER - A witness at the trial into a fatal ferry sinking in B.C. says it was the officers' responsibility to familiarize themselves with new equipment and procedures when coming onto the ship.

Karl Lilgert is on trial for criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers when the Queen of the North sank in March 2006, and his lawyers have suggested he was saddled with unreliable equipment and poor training.

But Don Frandsen, who wasn't on the ship the night it sank but was the ferry's senior captain, says he would have expected officers to familiarize themselves with new procedures and ensure they were ready to sail.

Lilgert was filling in as fourth officer during the fatal voyage, and was alone on the bridge with a quartermaster at the time of the sinking.

Frandsen says he alerted the captain during Lilgert's watch about new procedures, particularly when it came to the steering and autopilot systems, and a detailed memo was posted on the bridge.

He says the team that Lilgert was on had a day on the vessel after coming on board before their first sailing, and he would have expected officers would spent part of that time ensuring they understood any changes on the ship.