Hong Kong Ferry Crash ‘Should Not Have Happened’, Say Lawyers

‘Thorough And Wide Ranging Investigation’ Is Needed

03.10.2012

Expert lawyers acting for the victims of marine disasters around the world say the recent collision of a cruiser and a ferry in Hong Kong which claimed the lives of 38 people including one Briton should have been avoided and have urged the Hong Kong authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into what went wrong.

As well as 38 deaths, more than 100 people were injured in the incident on Monday (October 1st) when a Lamma IV cruiser collided with a ferry as it carried passengers to watch a fireworks display. The cruiser sank within minutes of the incident.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist travel lawyers represent victims affected by maritime disasters across the globe, including passengers injured on the Costa Concordia in January 2012. The team also acted for 19 families who lost loved ones in the Al Dana Dhow disaster in Bahrain in 2006, when a converted fishing boat capsized off the coast of Manama killing dozens of passengers.

Clive Garner, head of the international travel law team at Irwin Mitchell and an expert in disaster cases, said: “This is clearly a tragedy and it is vital that there is a full investigation into the circumstances of how the collision and the resulting and tragic loss of life occurred.

“In the absence of a major technical problem and provided that there had been reasonable seamanship exercised by the Captains and crew of both vessels, a collision of this kind simply should not have happened.

“Maritime rules and sophisticated navigational aids exist to minimise the risk of collisions like this occurring and a thorough and wide ranging investigation is needed.

“This investigation will need to focus on factors including the conduct of the Captains and crew of both vessels including the quality of the look-out being maintained, the course that the vessels took, their speed, the operation of navigational aids including radar, the construction and safety of the vessels, the availability and deployment of life jackets, life rafts and any other issues which could have played a part in causing this disaster.

“For the sake of all of those killed and injured and their families, we hope that the authorities in Hong Kong are able to work quickly and thoroughly to investigate what went wrong here and come up with recommendations and action s to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.”

The British Foreign Office has confirmed that one Briton – believed to be a child – was among those killed in the incident. Seven members of crew from both boats are being held by police.