Hong Kong Ferry Captain Guilty of Manslaughter in Collision That Left 39 Dead

14.02.2015 13:59

HONG KONG — The captain
of a ferry that collided with
another passenger vessel in
2012, leaving 39 people dead
in Hong Kong’s worst
maritime accident in
decades, was found guilty of
manslaughter on Saturday.
Lai Sai-ming, captain of the
Sea Smooth, a passenger
ferry, was convicted of 39
counts of manslaughter by a
Hong Kong jury. 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 South
China Morning Post reported.
The vessel captained by Mr.
Chow, the Lamma IV, a
passenger boat owned by an
electric company, sank
quickly after being struck by
the Sea Smooth, a scheduled
ferry, on the night of Oct. 1,
2012, China’s National Day
holiday. The Lamma IV had
been shuttling employees of
the electric company and
their family members from
Lamma, an outlying island
where the company operates
a power station, to Hong
Kong’s Central district to
watch a holiday fireworks
show. All 39 people who died
were aboard the Lamma IV.
The collision, which took
place just off the coast of
Lamma, was the deadliest
maritime disaster in Hong
Kong since 1971.
During the trial, Mr. Chow
and his lawyers argued that
they had followed
international conventions for
avoiding collisions at sea by
turning to starboard, or to
the right. That action was
ineffective, his lawyers
argued, because Mr. Lai, in
contravention of the rules,
had turned to port, or left,
The Post reported. The Sea
Smooth struck the port side
of the Lamma IV, puncturing
its watertight compartments.
The manslaughter charge
carries a maximum penalty
of life in prison, The Post