Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ferry company denies 'hit and run'


Ferry company denies 'hit and run'


03 October, 2012

Upturned: Thirty eight people were killed after the ferry carrying HK Electric staff and their families collided with another near Lamma Island

A tearful ferry company boss has rejected claims that Sea Smooth, a vessel owned by his firm, was guilty of a “hit and run” in Monday night’s disaster off Lamma Island.
Nelson Ng Siu-yuen, general manager of Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Holdings (HKKF), wept on Wednesday during his first press conference since the disaster, saying one of his relatives lost two children in the tragedy.
The death toll has reached 38, with more than 100 injuries from the collision involving Sea Smooth and another ferry, Lamma IV.
“We feel deep regret about this sea tragedy,” said Ng. “We hope all the deceased can rest in peace… I have promised not to tell, but now I want to tell you that I personally have relatives… two children passed away.”
He had reported his family’s loss to the board of directors and would not let his personal situation affect his handling of the situation for HKKF, Ng said.
He hit back against media reports suggesting that Sea Smooth, carrying more than 90 passengers, drove away irresponsibly after the collision with Lamma IV. It was unfair to blame his company’s ferry before police finish their investigation, he said. 
Ng asserted that the captain remained at the scene to check the stricken ship for a while after the collision. But he did not know how long the ship stayed at the site.
The Sea Smooth has been in service for 10 years, and the company checked it for seaworthiness just last month, Ng said. Its captain received his sailing licence in 1985 and has worked for HKKF for three years, with a clear sailing record.
The captain, an engineer and a sailor were arrested on Tuesday and have been released on bail. Sea Smooth was on its final voyage of the day and its captain, surnamed Lai, had worked for more than 10 hours, Ng said.
But he rejected suggestions that the captain was overly tired or that the ship had deviated from its proper course.
Lai is still in hospital with rib injuries and is also being treated by a psychologist, so Ng was unable to ask him how the collision happened, he said.