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‘Charley paid the biggest price’: B.C. mom calls for regulatory change after son’s tug sinks


The mother of a man killed when his tugboat sank in rough weather on B.C.’s north coast is calling for stricter regulation of the industry.

The appeal came on the National Day of Mourning, which honours people who died or were seriously injured in workplace injuries.

“Charley paid the biggest price anybody could ever make. It goes against every grain in my body to not make this right,” Genevieve Cragg told Global News.

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

Charley Cragg, a 25-year-old Tsawwassen man, was killed when the small tugboat Ingenika went down in the Gardner Canal while towing a barge from Kitimat to Kemano. The vessel’s captain also died, while its 19-year-old first mate survived.

It was Cragg’s first day on the job.

The Ingenika was one of many tiny tugs that ply B.C.’s coasts, often towing massive barges.

Read more: Sunken tug near Bella Bella raised from waters

Tugs like it, which are under 15 gross tonnes, are exempt from certain federal regulations — a situation Genevieve Cragg wants to see changed.

“The (Transportation) Safety Board keeps making recommendations to Transport Canada, and they’re not taking heed. There are boats that are still going out — small, small boats with oversized barges,” she said.

“These small outfitters that are skirting regulations and undercutting bids from industry to get these deals, they have found a loophole. And they re exploiting it, and they are putting lives at risk.”

Cragg took her message to the Transport Canada offices in Vancouver on Wednesday.

She’s calling for an overhaul of the regulations governing vessels like her son’s, and for the Ingenika to be raised.