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HK gov't releases ferry crash report


10:26, May 01, 2013

HONG KONG, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The independent commission of inquiry's report on the collision of vessels near Lamma Island on October 1 last year will be released after removing parts concerning the two coxswains' responsibilities, Chief Executive CY Leung announced here on Tuesday.

Briefing reporters, Leung said the two coxswains involved in the incident have already been charged with manslaughter, and in view of pending criminal legal proceedings, the government should not affect their rights to a fair trial.

"After seeking legal advice, the Government has decided not to release for the time being those parts of the report concerning the responsibilities of the two coxswains until the final conclusion of the criminal legal proceedings," he said.

Leung said the report sets out the commission's views on the collision's causes, analyses the causes of one of the vessels' rapid sinking and substantial casualties, and recommends measures to prevent similar incidents. The report also notes that the Marine Department has longstanding serious problems in the control of local passenger-carrying vessels, he said.

"As the Government of the day, we will take this matter seriously, and seek to rectify the problems," he said.

"We must learn the lesson and spare no efforts in making fundamental improvements and reforms to ensure marine safety and restore public confidence."

He added the government had immediately set out and taken steps to implement improvement and remedial measures to ensure passenger and vessel safety.

Upon receiving the commission's report, Leung instructed the Secretary for Transport & Housing and the Director of Marine to continue with the comprehensive, in-depth examination of existing controls on marine safety, vessel structure and safety equipment to ensure the improvement measures' full and effective implementation.

"I have also asked the bureau and department concerned to follow up on the recommendations of the commission promptly. Should there be any maladministration or human error found, the government will deal with it in an impartial and serious manner, including commencing disciplinary hearings."

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