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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:23 am 
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PNWxplant wrote:

Also, here in HK I have seen cargo boats, ferries, every type of traffic except internationally flagged cargo ships, challenging each other for right of way at full speed. What I mean is that when two vessels are on a converging course, neither will change course (even though it is clear which one has rights) until they are much too close for safety, then the one that should have changed course does. In all the instances I have seen that is.


Have you noticed how drivers and pedestrians do the same thing here in Hong Kong. You move ahead at full speed and who ever gets to the spot first has right of way.

You can imagine how the pressure of the national day holiday could up the speed and aggression of these games of chicken.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:38 am 
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Hi everybody,

and thank you for this topic. It seems that this is the focal point for the most relevant official information and eyewitness testimonies.

However, there is one thing that bothers me. There is a constant "phrase" that HKFF didn't slow down or turn. I was on the HKFF ferry that night. And I am sure that some moments (about half a minute, 20 seconds, I'd say, but it is blurred, I can not be sure) before the impact it almost stopped its engines and started to turn. I am sure about that because I told my wife that we've arrived. We were not paying attention to the surroundings so at the moment I said it I didn't know that we were still far from the pier.

Is police trying to contact HKFF ferry passengers? I haven't noticed any public call and that night they were nowhere to be seen to make a list of passengers and potential witnesses.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:49 am 
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My "弔唁簿 – Online Condolence Book" is open for your signing and comments now, in any language or format, please click below:

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:21 am 
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More HKKF ferry passenger accounts on radio and video, adding to the ones published already in this topic:

Chris Head video interview on WSJ:
http://live.wsj.com/video/ferry-passenger-speaks-of-perilous-journey

David Macfarlane, being interviewed on today's RTHK Radio 3 Backchat programme:
http://podcast.rthk.org.hk/podcast/item.php?pid=177
http://programme.rthk.hk/channel/radio/programme.php?name=radio3/backchat&d=2012-10-04&p=514&e=&m=episode

Yat Man-cheng & husband Brian Kern, Ding Ping-kwan, Chris Head:
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1052603/passengers-aboard-hkkf-catamaran-tell-panic-and-confusion<HR>
Plus probably the best story about this disaster so far from the local perspective, by Senior Lammaite Kevin Voigt of CNN. He's expressing many of my own feelings so much better than I ever could:

World's 'most delightful commute' hit by ferry disaster<HR>
Plus, another musical event organised by Simo Chau:

LAMMA JAZZ BAND MUSICIANS PAY TRIBUTE TO

LAMMA BOAT SEA TRAGEDY, SOOTHING SOUL & SPIRIT REST IN PEACE & HARMONY

南丫音樂藝術家哀悼致敬舒緩的靈魂和精神安息!

Sat, Oct 6th, 8pm @ 7th Avenue Bar & Restaurant

Thanks to all Lammaites coming to support the beautiful MoonJazz MusicFest event last Sept 29th, a very peaceful & harmonic happy gathering, music brought us all together in oneness.

我們做了成功的南丫島爵士音樂會中秋節繼續 continue...

We Are Part of Lamma Island, commemorate the ship tragedy.
Music helps to love & soothe the mutual support & stabilise emotional comfort.

我們南丫島一分子見證海船悲劇發生愛有助讓音樂撫慰相互支持的穩定安慰情緒

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Last edited by Lamma-Gung on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:59 am 
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im surprised none have mentioned a burning question in my mind, what was the HKE ferry doing in that position / area, if it was heading to the fireworks from the power station to central what was it doing there, it surely should have been looping out around the outside area keeping left even if there were other vessels around there it seems to have cut right accross towards the lighthouse, thats the route they take to aberdeen.

thinking of those lost and their families

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:29 am 
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Hi there,
Just wondering if anyone aboard HKKF ferry saw the accident before it happened. We're doing a documentary on this for TVB. I can be reached at 2335-2057, 9555-7354.
Thanks
Renato Reyes


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:56 am 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:
Plus probably the best story about this disaster so far from the local perspective, by Senior Lammaite Kevin Voigt of CNN. He's expressing many of my own feelings so much better than I ever could:

World's 'most delightful commute' hit by ferry disaster<HR>



I have to agree with this. Good story from a Lamma resident's perspective.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:29 pm 
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A few people have mentioned that many ferries run without radar on. This has brought to mind the question of whether the radar would have made much difference.

I do not know much about radar, but I know that ground clutter can make airborne radars ineffective at detecting other planes that are below the horizon. I also know that some naval radars work better in litoral waters than others, though I don't fully understand why.

I have noticed ferries on some routes zooming at full speed into a bay to dock at a pier and only cutting their engines at the last minute. In all cases, steep topography lies ahead of the ferry. If there are hills in the background, would a radar set be able to detect a boat between the ferry and the hills? If not, shouldn't these ferries be slowing down much earlier if it is dark or foggy?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:52 pm 
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Hanbaobao wrote:
PNWxplant wrote:

Also, here in HK I have seen cargo boats, ferries, every type of traffic except internationally flagged cargo ships, challenging each other for right of way at full speed. What I mean is that when two vessels are on a converging course, neither will change course (even though it is clear which one has rights) until they are much too close for safety, then the one that should have changed course does. In all the instances I have seen that is.


Have you noticed how drivers and pedestrians do the same thing here in Hong Kong. You move ahead at full speed and who ever gets to the spot first has right of way.

You can imagine how the pressure of the national day holiday could up the speed and aggression of these games of chicken.


YES, I have noticed, and I just had the same thought and looked on to find this!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Sam I am wrote:
A few people have mentioned that many ferries run without radar on. This has brought to mind the question of whether the radar would have made much difference.

I do not know much about radar, but I know that ground clutter can make airborne radars ineffective at detecting other planes that are below the horizon. I also know that some naval radars work better in litoral waters than others, though I don't fully understand why.

I have noticed ferries on some routes zooming at full speed into a bay to dock at a pier and only cutting their engines at the last minute. In all cases, steep topography lies ahead of the ferry. If there are hills in the background, would a radar set be able to detect a boat between the ferry and the hills? If not, shouldn't these ferries be slowing down much earlier if it is dark or foggy?


Radar will not see over a hill. But it will see a vessel between the radar and the hill. You cant see in the "shadow" behind the hill. An operator learns how to recognize the hills, and the scatter. You learn how to connect what you see in the radar with what you see on your chart.

Scatter may be caused by rain, rough water, fog or anything that interferes with the bounce back of the signal. The operator learns how to minimize these effect by tuning the radar.

On the night of the accident I would expect a large metal boat to be easily visible, When set to close ranges you can often see the SHAPE of the boat, not just a "blip". At close range a vessel this side, and made of steel, should create a large return.

What differnce would it have made - not sure - but it is still required to be used, and it MAY have helped.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:47 pm 
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a short essay I wrote on all this: <a href=http://www.comparativist.org/?p=536>Reflecting on the Resonance of Disaster</a>


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:13 pm 
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kerber wrote:
Hi everybody,

Is police trying to contact HKFF ferry passengers? I haven't noticed any public call and that night they were nowhere to be seen to make a list of passengers and potential witnesses.


Yes, there is a notice up next to the police box asking for people who were on the ferry to ring the marine police and give a witness statement. I don't have the number but it is on the notice board next to the police box.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:42 pm 
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9188 2710.
I’ve got the leaflet with me on Main Street, but no scanner.
Uploading later tonight....

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:43 pm 
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So we have a post from passengers on the 8pm ferry on page 3 & 5, one says the ferry didn't slow down or turn while the other one says it almost stopped the engines and turned?????

Some people said the HKE ferry was in the wrong place??? The HKE ferry was entitled to take any route the captain wanted to take (with due care).... the very same route would have been taken by most of the junk boats that visited Lamma on Monday too.

Finally the question that we should ask ourselves is "what would those 38 souls be saying if they still had a voice"?

I hope justice is served promptly

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:26 pm 
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this dreadful accident raises many questions. One not seen on this thread is whether the removal of the government subsidy has caused a change in practice or safety.
What were the hours worked by all crew? When did they have rest breaks? are these standard?
How did a boat (the Lamma iv) designed to carry passengers sink so fast?
When if ever are safety drills carried out on these boats?
What if any changes in procedures specifically for firework events have happened since the previous ferry/pleasure boat smash in 1991? If there were such changes, are they still practiced?
Also questions about the volume of passenger traffic on the ferry and on Lamma's narrow streets. Looking at the massive queue HK side (see u tube link on this thread) I wondered if there should be some kind of capacity limits? Or a separate entrance for non visitors? these may be impractical but imho deserve some consideration.

Thank you Trey for your essay and photos. Unlike you I feel profoundly emotionally connected to the victims of this tragedy. though I haven't been a resident for 20 years, the night and aftermath of the 1991 crash is seared into my memory. I recall scary thoughts of sampan breakdown in the Lamma channel, though it never happened to me. Social media alerted me to this crash long before the mainstream media. It is essential that citizen journalism plays it's role in any enquiry. Photos, testimony, film etc. Not just of the crash itself but of the extaordinary circumstances on the day itself.

Justice is not something that can be rushed. Truth is the most important goal at the moment (just look at how lies and cover up have compounded the Hillsborough victims torment). I hope all will work together to ensure the authorities do indeed investigate everything and also to suggest improvements to ferry services and private hire arrangements.

But first all need time to grieve. Mourning first.

So today....... my heart bleeds for the families, victims and the whole community mourning this catastrophic loss.

Love and compassion.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:42 pm 
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Well said Soulkitchen....I just hope this case isn't dragged out for 10 years like the drowning incident involving HKKF

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:09 am 
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how about once every few decades some boats sink and people die, no matter what, so quit speculating about this instance


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:34 am 
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This is HK not BEIJING

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:52 am 
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The captain may have also been distracted by the crew leaving the wheelhouse as they do just before arriving.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:02 am 
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About the question of whether or not the ferry swerved left or right or slowed down before crashing into Lamma IV, there do appear to be conflicting accounts.

I have said in a post here and also to the media that according to my recollection, the ferry neither swerved left or right nor slowed down before the crash. I am quite certain the ferry did not turn before impact. The reason for this is that everyone on the lower deck was thrown violently forward by the force of the impact. (In my own case, my child and I were in the aisle at the time and were thrown into the air and landed about two meters forward of where we had been standing). If the ferry had swerved left or right, we would have been thrown to the side (right if swerving left, left if swerving right). So of that I am quite certain. Looking back, my wife says it’s possible that seconds before impact, the ferry’s engine was cut. My recollection is that impact occurred without any warning sign at all. Even if the ferry cut its engine or attempted to slow down before impact, it had to have been seconds before, and I doubt that doing so did much if anything to reduce the impact. Again, it was quite sudden and violent, and it would be more accurate to say the ferry slammed into the boat than that it drifted into it. I suspect this is one reason the Lamma IV appears to have sunk so quickly—due to the force of the impact and the damage it caused. As I’ve said before, one of my first thoughts (to the extent that I was thinking clearly at all in those first moments) was that the ferry must have hit something submerged beneath the water; otherwise, how could it have hit it so suddenly, without warning, and at what appeared to be full force? To me, one major question is still whether or not the ferry crew saw the Lamma IV at all in advance. If so, I can’t imagine that it could have been more than a matter of seconds in advance of the impact.

I saw the HKKF Sea Smooth being removed from the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier yesterday. I was on the 4:30 ferry from Central and saw it being transported by two tug-boats, one in front, one in back. Does anyone know where it has been taken?

And by the way, being on that 4:30 ferry was in itself a troubling experience, as the ferry was one of those small ones about which Lamma people on this thread and elsewhere have expressed concern. First of all, the 4:30 ferry is usually crowded with many school children. When I passed through the turnstiles in Central at 4:20, ten minutes before departure, the sign above them flashed only 50 empty seats left. That ferry is really too small for the 4:30 departure. Secondly, looking around on the upper deck, I saw that there are emergency exits indicated, but they appear to be difficult to open and how to do so was not self-apparent. This means the only clear exit is the main one used to get on and off the ferry at the back. You’d think after this accident that HKKF would be doing all that it could to reassure passengers of its safety precautions, and instead it is substituting these small ferries that worry people for the big ferries. I imagine HKKF will claim that it has no other recourse since it’s lost one of its major ferries, but I would still like HKKF to show that it is willing to listen to concerns of regular passengers and perhaps respond to them in some fashion. This is certainly an area where concerted effort on the part of regular passengers could bring some pressure to bear on HKKF to respond to concerns.

I have been struck by the paucity of public mourning on Lamma, even while I know from this thread and from speaking with many individuals that there is great sympathy and sadness on the island. On Tuesday, I noticed two bouquets of flowers lain on the pier. Yesterday, Thursday, my wife attended the three minutes of silence organized by the Rural Committee. She said there were only a couple dozen people there and noted that gweilo outnumbered locals (she herself is HK Chinese). While the three minutes of silence persisted, passersby pushed through the two dozen gathered as if nothing was going on. I notice a church is organizing a prayer service on Saturday. But surely there could be a more concerted response. Why is there not? Is it because Lamma is so fractured into different groups. To generalize grossly, it appears that villagers are impervious to anything that is not immediately related to clan or commercial interests while the majority of gweilo seem to flow above social concerns as if they lived somewhere else entirely. Sorry for that gross generalization-- I know it does not apply to a great many people--, but does it not have some truth? If not, what accounts for the lack of a public show of togetherness in our mourning? I have no great network of friends or acquaintances on the island, so I do not feel well placed to organize effectively, but wouldn’t it be a good gesture to organize a trip to HK Electric power station to pay our respects, or a ceremony on the ferry pier? This weekend, the first full one after the accident, would be timely. Past that is a little late.

There has been some discussion on the thread of the role of the police. I have noted before that in the rescue operation, all of the emergency services appear to have performed admirably, even heroically. But in collecting information and investigating, the police and the government have been very slow off the mark, showing the worst of HK bureaucratic tendencies.

It’s at such moments that I am grateful for a (relatively) free media. My wife and I have been willing to speak to the media generally because we think it will help to get to the bottom of what exactly occurred and more particularly because of the government’s slow response and HKKF statements that contradicted our own experience of what happened on the ferry. We have noted t.v. news’ tendency to fish for sound bites, and while print media was more careful in its interviewing, we have been dismayed by inaccuracies in its representations of our statements. I don’t expect the media to get everything right. From my point of view, it largely serves the purpose of amplification—to get the word out. But if you want the word to be right, you have to find a way of presenting the matter in your own words (thanks lamma.com.hk for the opportunity!). Still, the media spotlight is one of the best ways to pressure the government to carry out a proper investigation.

As noted previously in this thread, when my wife approached the police on the night of the accident, she was rebuffed. Now the police in notices at the ferry pier is asking the public to call a hotline with any information. The government has promised a full investigation, though it is unclear when this will begin. Now that seven crew members from the two boats involved in the crash have been arrested, there must certainly be a criminal investigation, and I assume the police are looking for information in regard to the criminal investigation (even though on the night of the accident, a policeman told my wife that this was not a criminal matter and if she had a complaint, she should call the ferry company or the marine police). So now it appears there will be two investigations, a criminal one and a government inquiry, and it is unclear how these two will relate to each other and the extent to which they overlap. At any rate, government investigation of the accident is already showing signs of incoherence (not to mention slowness!). I am skeptical of its capacity to conduct a proper investigation in terms of both number of investigators, quality, methodology (the bureaucratic versus the proactive approach—think of the leads it could glean just by trawling this thread, something which the media have done), and the potential influence of vested interests (read: big business). I must say my reaction to the arrests of the crew members was skepticism and suspicion: The police had done very little investigation at that point and had refused to take statements from witnesses such as my wife. It looked like both police and government were trying to appear to be moving swiftly and decisively, and I feared there would be an attempt to pin the blame on a few “small potatoes” rather than look at more approximate responsibility. For example, I just heard that a standard shift for a ferry captain is 20 hours—is that right? And I heard that concerned parties in the past have asked the government to more tightly regulate work hours (of course, there is no law on maximum work hours in Hong Kong, the only developed society without one) of ferry captains, but the government has not done so—is that right? In other words, I suspect there are various levels of responsibility. That is not to say that there may not have been criminal negligence on the part of the parties most involved—indeed, there is good reason to suspect this--, just that a proper investigation of all the causes would be more far-reaching. Let’s hope my skepticism is misplaced, but I do think attention by media and citizens will pressure the government and police to investigate properly and thoroughly.

Sorry for the long-windedness! Hope it’s useful….


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