Hong Kong Ferry Disaster Captain Convicted

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 15, 2015

Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry (Pic: Star Ferry)

Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry (Pic: Star Ferry)

 The captain of Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry’s Seasmooth passenger ferry, Lai Sai-ming, was on Saturday found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter over the 2012 Lamma island ferry disaster. 

He was also found guilty of endangering the lives of others at sea by a Hong Kong court. Chow Chi-wai, the captain of the other boat involved in the collision, was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of the lesser charge of endangering the safety of others at sea.
 
The two captains had blamed each other for the Oct. 1, 2012, collision, which left this highly organized and overwhelmingly safe southern Chinese city traumatized.
 
The verdicts came down after a 60-day trial and four days of deliberations. The crash was Hong Kong's worst maritime accident since 1971. An inquiry following the collision found safety standards on the Lamma IV - which partially capsized - had not been properly enforced and there had been a "litany of errors".
 
The South China Morning Post quoted the judge in the case, Andrew Bruce, as saying that both captains had been “grossly negligent” in failing to keep a proper lookout and not responding effectively to avoid the collision.
 
The ferry was heading from Hong Kong Island to the outlying island of Lamma when the collision occurred. The smaller boat, owned by the Hong Kong Electric Co., was taking employees of the company on a harbour excursion to watch the Chinese National Day fireworks display.
 
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