The CBC website has details on the quest for legal closure on the sinking of the Queen of the North.
The families of Gerald Foisy and his wife, Shirley Rosette of 100 Mile House, B.C. want the couple declared legally dead, a process which is caught up in the bureacracy of a coroners investigation, that inquiry began last December but the coroner is not ready to make their findings public yet.
Surivor benefits for the families are held up with a legal declaration, the families are also anxious for the Transportation Safety Board report that will outline the cause of the sinking of the vessel on March 22, 2006.
Ferry victims' families seek legal closure, survivors' benefits
Last Updated: Monday, March 19, 2007 8:24 AM PT
The families of the two people who are still missing a year after the sinking of the B.C. ferry, the Queen of the North, want them declared legally dead.
They believe Gerald Foisy and his wife, Shirley Rosette of 100 Mile House, B.C., had boarded the ferry in Prince Rupert on its last voyage. But they were not among those rescued, and their bodies were never found.
That's created difficulties for their families, who have applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for a declaration of their deaths so Foisy's two teenaged daughters and Rosette's two teenaged sons can receive survivor benefits.
A coroner's inquiry began last December, but the regional coroner for northern B.C. said he's not ready to make findings yet.
Shayne DeMeyer said the inquiry has eyewitness accounts and RCMP reports, but no forensic evidence.
"Do we have enough to say 'presumed dead?' We don't currently," he said. "There's more work to be done, but there are other avenues for the family to take."
The families of the missing couple are also waiting for the Transportation Safety Board report into the cause of the sinking of the Queen of the North after it hit Gil Island along B.C.'s Central Coast on March 22, 2006.
With no answers forthcoming, Foisy's sister Diane Melnyk said the family is planning a private ceremony next Saturday, when two crosses will be erected on Gil Island.
"That will be Gerald's resting place. We know that he's there, and this weekend's important for us … to just put closure to it."
New ferry ready to go
Meanwhile the Queen of the North's replacement vessel was unveiled in Vancouver over the weekend.
The vessel Northern Adventure was shown off to the public at the cruise ship terminal in Burrard Inlet.
There had been widespread support to have the new ferry named the The Spirit of Hartley Bay, to honour residents of the small First Nations village who went out in the middle of the night to rescue the Queen of the North's passengers and crew.
They also provided lodging for them in the days following the sinking.
Hartley Bay resident Daniel Danes, who was among the first people on the scene, told CBC Radio on Monday that not naming the new vessel after his community is not a problem for him.
"They can do whatever they want with it. We can't tell them what to do. It's their boat. We can't tell them what to name it. The way I feel, we did what we did," he said.
"It could have happened anywhere on the coast, [and] it would have had the same response, I think."
The Northern Adventure is scheduled to start regular service between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert next month.