The lawyer for survivors of a B.C. ferry that sank four years ago says charges against the ship's navigating officer won't affect an ongoing class-action lawsuit.

Karl Lilgert was charged this week with criminal negligence causing death in the March 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North, which left two passengers dead.

Many survivors have signed onto the class-action lawsuit against BC Ferries, and last year three passengers were awarded damages between $500 and $14,000.

That leaves more than 40 others who are in the process of negotiating settlements with the government-owned ferry corporation.

One of the lawyers handling the case, James Hanson, says the charges against Lilgert will have no bearing on the lawsuit because BC Ferries has already admitted liability and the only outstanding issue is the size of the damages.

He says one survivor he spoke to who is part of the lawsuit welcomed the charge, and all are anxious to get the legal process over with and get on with their lives.