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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:01 pm 
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PoWahYuen wrote:
The HEC ferry looks at least 30 years old, when it was built there were hardly any fast ferries, only Macau, so it was unlikely to be hit at 25 knots. Nowadays, such an impact is much more probable and would often mean the rather quick sinking of the boat.

Perhaps HK needs to upgrade there safety standards and retrofit any boat that tales that number of passengers with watertight compartments.


I don't think you understand the physics and the energy involved. 2 vessels that weigh 100 TONS (which is the SMALLER ferries) colliding while each is travelling even 10 kts is CATASTROPHIC.

The solution in in how they are operated, and keeping them from colliding.

Yes, we still put seat belts and airbags in cars, but setting a speed limit and enforcing traffic laws does FAR MORE to lower accident (and therefore fatality) rates than the things you insert to take effect AFTER the accident.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:25 pm 
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I would just like to thank PNWxplant for bringing some much-appreciated expertise to this tragic thread. Thanks for your insight.

Edited to add: browsing older threads in this forum indicates the sheer number of near misses and minor collisions that abound. I was involved in one way back in 1993 and they occurred before and since. It's a crowded harbour.

But back then most of the ferries were slower, albeit bigger, and presumably there was a greater margin of error. Now that they are fast cats, things really need to improve.

Tightening up of safety standards is clearly important, but knee-jerk legislation passed in haste following a tragedy is usually bad legislation, and often has unforeseen side-effects.

In my mind, more important right now is actually enforcing existing standards.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:03 pm 
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BBC just reported that 6 crew from both boats arrested.

Plus, search and rescue continuing as not all passengers accounted for.

I despair for the crew....under-paid, over-worked and scapegoated for human error committed by clearly not every single one of them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:09 pm 
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Location: Pak Kok Village
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1052350/six-crew-arrested-over-fatal-lamma-ferry-crash:
"This is the deadliest boat accident in Hong Kong in 40 years."

http://rthk.hk/rthk/news/englishnews/news.htm?main&20121002&56&873428:
"Five children were among the dead."

For the exact location of the accident, see my map below. It's just beyond the lighthouse/buoy off that rocky outcrop before reaching Pak Kok Village that all boats have to go around, often within metres (see below), it's kind of a naval bottleneck.
I took the photos below this early morning from the light-blue rock, see below, beyond the Sitting-Out Area above Pak Kok Village.

The HK Electric ferry - which is almost identical in size, make and colours (marine blue/burgundy) to our YSW-Aberdeen open-top deck ferries, see below - has been lifted, turned upright and will be moved to some pier probably tomorrow and might remain there during part of the criminal investigation.


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File comment: Tsui Wah ferry from Pak Kok to Yung Shue passing by the lighthouse/buoy, full of curious passengers.
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Last edited by Lamma-Gung on Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:40 pm 
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My heart goes out to all families in this tragedy.

It is a tragedy that should not have happened.

I had to work yesterday and Central Ferry pier was chaos with hundreds of people heading for Lamma by 10.00am. The queue was five to six deep and it stretched all the way to Pier 5!!

When I returned to Lamma around 5pm, the crowds were already incredible on the Lamma pier. Apparently the crowds on Lamma reached from the turnstiles to the Man Fung. A wall of people that was unbelievable.

No ferry timetables existed yesterday,... Lamma was overwhelmed. The ferries were overwhelmed. And a terrible accident happened.

I hope this makes CY Leung take note... HK does not have the infrastructure to admit 4 million more tourists.

The collision and deaths should not have happened. It's tragic and very sad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Quote:
I hope this makes CY Leung take note... HK does not have the infrastructure to admit 4 million more tourists.


Couldn't agree more!


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 Post subject: tuorists
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Here is a video of the queue to Lamma at 11am on central side yesterday. No wonder there was a queue to leave Lamma from the pier to the bank at 6.30pm. Maybe the number of tourists coming to Lamma should be regulated?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOjT4EMMq5o


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:09 pm 
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In the one year I have been here I have witnessed enough violations to put a company out of business in the Western world. The skippers and the governing body should be hung out to dry.

There is just absolutely NO EXCUSES for the incidents that have been happening here over a long period of time. The fact that these skippers have been allowed to get away with these incidents for so long is PRECISELY why we had the accident last nite.

IT NOT A VIDEO GAME! I have witnessed operators racing each other thru Victoria Harbor, one skipper trying to block the other from passing. It is absurd!

A hotline for passengers and vessel operators to call in specific incidents should be implemented. There should be some individual responsibility for the way these vessels are operated. On a daily basis, not just after an accident.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:17 pm 
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PNWxplant wrote:
PoWahYuen wrote:

I don't think you understand the physics and the energy involved. 2 vessels that weigh 100 TONS (which is the SMALLER ferries) colliding while each is travelling even 10 kts is CATASTROPHIC.


I disagree E=1/2MV2

V2 at 8 knots = 64 at 25 knots = 625 a lot more energy that could be the difference between sinking or floating

But of course the important thing is avoiding the collision in the first place


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:14 pm 
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I was on the Central-to-Lamma ferry that crashed into the HK Electric boat, and I posted some initial impressions last night and this morning. Today, my family and I spent about three hours getting interviewed by the HK media. It's good that the media is giving the accident a lot of attention, and it reminds me of the importance of a free media to get to the bottom of things and hold government, other authorities and companies accountable. Quite striking was that while the media asked us for interviews, last night, when we tried to make a report to the police at the Lamma Ferry Pier, we were told that this was not a criminal matter, and if we had any complaint we should contact the Marine Police or HKKF. Since when do the land police and the Marine Police not work together? And just now, we read that six crew, three from each vessel, have been arrested, as announced by the HK Police (not the Marine Police). So if that's any indication of how the government investigation promised by CY Leung would go, it's good that the media will put pressure on them to do it properly. (By the way, I should add that this investigative aspect of the HK government and police should be distinguished from the rescue/emergency element. As far as I could tell, while initially somewhat slow to respond, once it kicked into gear, the fire department, police and ambulance services were heroic.)

Anyway, spending the day getting interviewed by the media was a study in how the media works. First of all, not all media are the same. Generally, it appears the print media are more careful and less slanted than t.v. Inmedia, SCMP and Ming Pao all interviewed us carefully and were interested in what we had to say, rather than feeding us lines and asking leading questions. The t.v. reporters, on the other hand, seemed most interested in why the HKKF ferry had left the scene of crash and gone to the Lamma ferry pier. And this focus appeared to have grown out of statements made by HK Electric and HKKF. HK Electric criticized the HKKF ferry for leaving the scene of the crash. An HKKF spokesperson, apparently in response, said that the ferry had done so at the request of passengers on the ferry (and later claimed another factor was that some passengers were injured). It appeared that the reporters had the story line of conflicting versions of events and wanted the ferry passengers (which would be mostly Lamma residents) to pose as the bad guys for demanding to leave the scene of the crash.

We tried to set them straight. First, we said, we didn't even realize until we got home what the ferry had hit because we received no information or instructions from the crew. Second, my wife, about two minutes after the collision, overheard the crew saying, We're going to the ferry pier, so apparently at that point, they had already decided. Third, we never heard anyone, in either English or Cantonese, ask the ferry crew to go to the pier. That does not rule out that perhaps some individuals did without us hearing, but it was hardly a large number of passengers. Most of us, in the absence of information and instructions from the crew, were confused and frightened. In fact, I find HKKF's statements to the effect that the crew decided to leave the crash site and go to the pier due to passenger request and passenger injury galling because HKKF never seemed to care about the passengers, first of all giving us no information or instructions, and secondly, when we got to the pier, not checking passengers for injuries but running around trying to retrieve life vests. There's really no way HKKF could have known anything about injured passengers because at no point did it bother to check.

That said, another thing I should stress is that, whatever occurred before the crash, after the crash, I think the ferry crew made the right decision to try to make it to Lamma ferry pier. The boat was taking in water quickly, and for all we knew, might have begun to sink, and therefore, it was in no position to conduct a rescue operation. In fact, doing so might have endangered even more lives. I do not know what else was going on in the ferry crew's minds, for, as I say, they did not communicate with us, but in this respect, they seem to have made a wise decision.

What we kept trying to point out to the media, especially the t.v. reporters, was that the focus should be on what caused the crash on a clear night with good visibility and the almost-full moon just rising. That is a mystery to us, for the way we crashed directly into the other boat without so much as slowing down or veering off to avoid a collision suggests that the HKKF ferry crew simply did not see the other boat until it was direclty upon us. Maybe, we thought afterwards, the other boat had been poorly lit. Maybe the crew was in such a hurry because it was such a busy day. Maybe the crew had already worked many hours and was exhausted. Who knows? But we think that's where the focus of the investigation should be at this point-- on what caused the crash.

The arrest of three crew members from each vessel appears to be as much a political move as anything else on the part of the government and police, something to show that they're acting decisively. For I do not know how they could possibly know what occurred, how they could gather good enough evidence to think they had enough to prosecute already, especially given that the police we encountered seemed entirely uninterested in any possible criminal negligence. I do think continued focus and pressure by the media and citizens will make the government and police conduct a proper investigation.

Lastly, amidst all the smoke and mirrors around the accident, I do think it's most important to remember the HK Electric workers and their families, to remember those who died and those who lost someone. I've just heard that the HK government has declared Thursday a day of mourning in Hong Kong-- a fine gesture. I hope that we on Lamma can do something to show our mourning. As far as I know, no one who lives on Lamma died. If that is the case, we are very fortunate, especially given the many reports of safety problems with the ferries. We should show our solidarity with the workers who come to our island to work.

Sorry in advance for any errors above. I'm writing swiftly, trying to squeeze this in around putting my child to bed, something that the parents of five children on the other boat can no longer do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:14 pm 
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PoWahYuen wrote:
PNWxplant wrote:
PoWahYuen wrote:

I don't think you understand the physics and the energy involved. 2 vessels that weigh 100 TONS (which is the SMALLER ferries) colliding while each is travelling even 10 kts is CATASTROPHIC.


I disagree E=1/2MV2

V2 at 8 knots = 64 at 25 knots = 625 a lot more energy that could be the difference between sinking or floating

But of course the important thing is avoiding the collision in the first place


You disagree that two vessels weighing 100 tons colliding while each travelling at 10kts would be catastrophic?

Have you ever seen two cars going 10kmh (kts are MUCH faster than kmh) hit each other? multiply the mass by 75X for a small ferry.

So what if you have 2x 5x or 10x enough to sink them? either way it's horrible.

The important thing IS to keep them from hitting each other. Esp when even at 10kts it is enough to sink nearly ANY vessel.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:30 pm 
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Quote:
That said, another thing I should stress is that, whatever occurred before the crash, after the crash, I think the ferry crew made the right decision to try to make it to Lamma ferry pier. The boat was taking in water quickly, and for all we knew, might have begun to sink, and therefore, it was in no position to conduct a rescue operation. In fact, doing so might have endangered even more lives. I do not know what else was going on in the ferry crew's minds, for, as I say, they did not communicate with us, but in this respect, they seem to have made a wise decision.

I don't know what happened but I doubt that the Sea Smooth was in danger of sinking. It's currently bobbing buoyantly at the end of the pier and seems to be in no danger of sinking even now. Couldn't they have paused for just a couple of minutes to throw lifebelts and lifevests over the side, at the very least?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:02 pm 
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草民 wrote:
The arrest of three crew members from each vessel appears to be as much a political move as anything else on the part of the government and police, something to show that they're acting decisively. For I do not know how they could possibly know what occurred, how they could gather good enough evidence to think they had enough to prosecute already, especially given that the police we encountered seemed entirely uninterested in any possible criminal negligence. I do think continued focus and pressure by the media and citizens will make the government and police conduct a proper investigation.


They've probably been taken into custody under some pretext just to make sure they don't disappear while the investigation proceeds. Whether any of them are prosecuted is too early to say. If anyone it would be the captains(s) and possibly the management if their policies caused the accident.

God knows what the consequences are for us. If HKKF was at fault they would probably lose the concession or decide it wasn't worth the risk and back out. Fares are pretty much bound to go up in any case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:11 pm 
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any news from Yui Lai Fan about the ferry tragedy?

Lamma ferries and Lamma infrastructure cannot cope with the hordes or tourists that visit here.

Yesterday was madness at the ferry piers. It was an accident waiting to happen.

Personally I thought the worst that would happen is the riot police would be called out to the piers on both sides, as many residents were trying to get to work, or home from work yesterday (Monday 1st), and it was chaos.

Unfortunately the result was a terrible disaster.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:59 pm 
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I concur with some of the observations made above regarding the great strain the system was under around the time of the accident.

We were on the 7:00 ferry from Central to Lamma. When we left Central there were a large number of mainland tourists waiting to board harbor tours. At the same time regular services were running behind schedule. I saw about 5 people board one of the large ferries bound for Sok Kwu Wan about 15 minutes late. Then about 50 - 100 of us we boarded one of the small ferries for Yung Shue Wan also 15 minutes late.

When we arrived at Yung Shue Wan at 7:45 the number of people waiting to board the ferry back to Central was extraordinary. There was a full boatload of people inside the terminal waiting to board. Then outside the terminal a line of people extended from the turnstiles all the way to the public toilets in the village - about 250 - 300 meters. There were perhaps as many as 1,000 people waiting to get off the island. I can't remember ever seeing that many people lined up. I remember thinking at the time that that situation was a scandal itself. Given what occurred it really needs to be critically examined.

With the company running their regular passenger services as well as the extra harbor tours they put on, and with massive number of day trippers over for the national day weekend it seemed apparent to me from the lines and late ferries that HKKF's resources were being over stretched last night. I think the inquiry really needs to examine the question of whether these factors led to crews being over stretched, ferry speeds increased and corners to be cut. This is not to make any excuse for negligence on the part of crews. However if they were being over stretched by systematic pressures and demands then this is a wider responsibility that belongs with management who are responsible for the provision of an adequate service and the government who negotiates and agrees the terms of that agreement.

From what I can see, in situations of great strain like yesterday I don't think it's acceptable for the company to divert resources to the revenue driven harbor tours while the regular services are dramatically overstretched. This can only have compromised public safety yesterday.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:43 pm 
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PNWxplant wrote:
[Esp when even at 10kts it is enough to sink nearly ANY vessel.


Except a modern vessel with watertight bulkheads like the HKKF ferry which survived a 25 knt collision remarkably well.

I was just stating that old ferries that carry large numbers of passengers, such as HEC ferry, should be upgraded with enhanced safety - better for all - particularly as a lot of ferries in the harbor now travel at 25knots plus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:44 am 
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Tigger wrote:
any news from Yui Lai Fan about the ferry tragedy?

Lamma ferries and Lamma infrastructure cannot cope with the hordes or tourists that visit here.


I can't see her ever suggesting anything that might reduce tourist numbers. Quite the reverse.

A couple of years ago the District Council pushed through a policy that would reduce the weekend surcharge, on the grounds that it discouraged tourism. Despite this not being in the interests of the vast majority of residents, who never got a say, the told the Transport Department that "the public wants this" so our relatives could come to visit us on weekends or some such bullshit. It hasn't been implemented yet, but the idea is that increases would be in the normal daily fare, not the weekend fare, reducing the differential

Still, I doubt a few dollars more or less would have discourage many visitors, while it costs us money every day.

Also we have yet to see the impact of the "$2 for seniors" concession for all public transport, including ferries. Boatloads of grannies coming out for dimsum should be relatively benign though, if they keep away on the peak public holidays.

Otherwise the tourist crush wasn't just on Lamma. We were at Sai Kung on Monday and were waiting in a very long queue for more than an hour for a bus to get back from Wong Shek. Fortunate in the circumstances as we ended up on the 10:30 ferry back.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:04 am 
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Tigger wrote:

I hope this makes CY Leung take note... HK does not have the infrastructure to admit 4 million more tourists.

.


Well said!


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 Post subject: Fatalities?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:34 am 
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I have read a lot about the crash and the debates about what happened, but have still not found names of fatalities. Are these posted anywhere? I am worried about a loved one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:12 am 
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I'm thrilled to read so many professional, informed, unbiased opinions and constructive criticism from experienced people with deep knowledge in the area. We should demand HKKF to hire you as management consultants.


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