Cruise Ship Law Blog
27 Passengers Injured In Hong Kong Ferry CollisionDecember 31, 2012
A maritime accident lawyer may soon be needed after a jetfoil accident caused 27 people to be injured. The incident took place on Saturday, when the jetfoil, which was en route to Hong Kong, hit a signal buoy near Macau’s Outer Harbor. All 183 passengers and crewmembers on the vessel were able to survive the accident without serious injuries, Macau authorities were criticized for the length of time it took to offer aid to the victims.
The cause of the accident is still unknown and all injured passengers have already been discharged from area hospitals after receiving treatment. According to authorities, the ferry boat crashed into the buoy roughly twelve minutes after leaving the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal at 12: 15 p.m. According to some of the vessel’s passengers, many people onboard were not wearing seat belts and were thrown onto the floor when the vessel crashed into the buoy. The incident reminded many of the October tragedy in Lamma Island which claimed the lives of 39 people. The accident, considered one of the worst in Hong Kong History, involved a high-speed ferry colliding with another boat that was out on the water for a company party so passengers could have a view of the firework show on National Day.
Although no one was seriously wounded in last Saturday’s accident, the incident serves as a reminder to all boat operators that maritime safety must be observed. The 27 passengers injured in this weekend’s maritime accident were taken to the CHCSJ hospital to be treated for their wounds. The majority were discharged the same day, but two remained overnight for observation and were subsequently released. The passengers who were not injured were transferred to another ferry.
Victims told the media that rescue teams did not arrive on scene until about 30 minutes after the collision and explained that some of the ferry’s seat belts were not working properly. All vessel operators, regardless of whether the vessel is a ferry boat, cruise ship or tanker, are required to keep passengers and crewmembers safe from harm. Defective seat belts are unacceptable. Because the safety equipment on the jetfoil was not working properly, the ferry’s operators may be held liable for the incident and victims may be able to seek damages for their injuries, pain and suffering with the help of a maritime accident lawyer.
According to an initial investigation of the crash, authorities explained the ferry had gone off course before crashing into the buoy. However, investigators are not sure what caused the vessel to collide with the buoy and are considering the possibility of poor visibility. So far, there is no evidence indicating that the ferry was speeding.
The operator of the ferry boat, TurbotJet, explained that jetfoils occasionally deviate from their course and added that the company would follow up claims by passengers regarding the malfunctioning seat belts.
Photo Credit: macaudailytimes.com