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Captain explains firing after ferry sinking

VANCOUVER - The captain of the Queen of the North passenger ferry says he was fired from BC Ferries because he raised safety concerns during the subsequent investigation, not because of the sinking.

Colin Henthorne is the latest witness at the trial for Karl Lilgert, who has been charged with criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers in March 2006 when the ferry sank off B.C.'s coast.

Henthorne says BC Ferries officials originally told him they were standing behind him, but he says that changed after he appeared at an internal inquiry into the sinking.

Henthorne says he was asked whether he had ever raised safety concerns with the company during his career, and he says when he gave a long list of items he had complained about, company officials became irate.

He testified that he received a phone call in January 2007 informing him he was no longer working with the company, and later received an explanation that BC Ferries had lost confidence in him.

Henthorne says the company insisted the firing was due to the way he raised the safety concerns, but Henthorne says he believes he was fired because he attempted to raise the concerns in the first place.

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