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Ferry not staffed according to rules: trial

VANCOUVER - The trial into a fatal ferry sinking off B.C. is hearing federal regulations required three people on the bridge, but some senior crew members interpreted those rules differently and there were only two people on the bridge the night the ship sank.

The Queen of the North's former first officer, Richard St. Pierre, is under cross-examination at the trial for fourth officer Karl Lilgert, who is charged with criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers in March 2006.

St. Pierre has been shown a BC Ferries document that indicates three people were required to be on the ferry's bridge, though he says not all officers interpretated those rules in the same way.

St. Pierre says he routinely staffed the bridge with only two people navigating and steering the ship at night, because if a third person staffed the bridge, then other work wouldn't get done.

On the night of the sinking, only Lilgert, who was in charge of navigation, and quartermaster Karen Bricker, whose role was to steer the ship, were on the bridge when it crashed.

St. Pierre has told court that BC Ferries now has more clear requirements requiring at least three people on the bridge, as the defence makes a case that inadequate policies and poor equipment led to the fatal crash.

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