Marine Log

March 31, 2006

RCMP probes BC Ferries sinking

CBC reports that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has launched a criminal investigation into last week's sinking of the BC Ferries vessel Queen of the North.

CBC quotes RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Ken Burton as saying that investigators will examine possible violations of the Criminal Code and the Canada Shipping Act. Burton is reported as saying that the investigation will include potential liability of BC Ferries under Canada's Bill C-45. That legislation, which was passed in 2003, "codified the common law concept that corporations may be held criminally liable for the criminal acts and omissions of its servants, and have significantly broadened the range of corporation-related individuals that can trigger the criminal liability of the organizations that they represent," according to one Canadian law firm.

Meantime, the first lawsuit in the case, according to CBC, has been filed by passengers Alexander and Maria Kotai and alleges negligence. Reportedly the suit has now been certified as a class action.