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    Aug 29, 2016

    HK ferry undergoes checks after sea collision


    A HIGH-SPEED ferry is now in a Hong Kong shipyard for damage inspection after it collided with a fishing boat while returning from Macau with nearly 300 passengers on board, Hong Kong media reported.

    Only a 20-year-old female passenger sustained an abrasion on her foot and had to be sent to hospital for treatment.

    Officials from the Hong Kong Marine Department yesterday visited the jetfoil in their investigation to determine what had caused its collision with a fishing boat from mainland China on Saturday at almost midnight, the Sing Tao Daily reported.

    The incident happened off Hong Kong's Lantau Island in mainland Chinese waters, just about 2.8km from Hong Kong's maritime border.

    A passenger surnamed Shi recalled that the impact of the collision was quite huge and smoke could be seen rising from the left side of the jetfoil, reported the Apple Daily.

    After the captain announced that the ferry had bumped into something, panic swept the cabins and some passengers quickly put on life jackets, said Mr Shi.

    For two hours, Turbojet MK2003 was barred from leaving the Chinese waters while marine officials from Hong Kong and China conducted inspection of the vessels.

    "It was raining heavily and there were lightning and thunder. Some passengers became agitated and kicked up some ruckus," said Mr Shi.

    Shun Tak-China Travel Ship Management, which owns the ferry, yesterday said the jetfoil collided with a 15m-long fishing boat about 35 minutes into its journey from Macau.

    The front of the fishing boat was damaged but everyone on both vessels was said to be safe.

    The sea route is commonly used by fishermen, said the company.

    On Oct 1, 2012, two Hong Kong passenger ferries Sea Smooth and Lamma IV collided off Lamma Island.

    With 39 people killed and 92 injured, the incident was Hong Kong's deadliest maritime disaster since 1971.

    In February last year, the captains of Sea Smooth and Lamma IV were sentenced to eight years' and nine months' imprisonment respectively.

    Both were found guilty of endangering the safety of others at sea but the Sea Smooth captain was also convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter. AGENCIES