Friday, June 13, 2014

Hong Kong/Macau: High-Speed Ferry Injures 57 Passengers, One Crew Member as it Arrives in Macau

According to http://eturbonews.com, two South Korean visitors and one Japanese tourist were among fifty-seven people that were injured, some seriously, when a high-speed ferry carrying 220 passengers, including many tourists and local residents and thirteen crew members from Hong Kong slammed into a breakwater off the main ferry pier in Macau on Friday morning (June 13).

A "breakwater" is defined as:

"a barrier built out into a body of water to protect a coast or harbor from the force of waves."

The TurboJet ferry, Cacilhas, mounted the breakwater and had listed to its right at about 0930 hours according to Macau’s marine and water bureau.

At least four rescue boats were dispatched to evacuate passengers from the jet-foil. They were ferried to an inner-harbor ferry terminal and a temporary pier at Taipa, the smaller of the two islands in Macau.

By 1230, 35 men and 22 women, including at least one crew member were reported injured, according to the Macau government.

Paramedics assessed the injured at Taipa pier before dispatching them to a local hospital.

The spokeswoman said most suffered minor injuries. “So far, none of them is in a life-threatening situation,” she said.

COMMENT: Given the number of ferry accidents between Hong Kong and Macau, helicopter service via the below link between Hong Kong and Macau leaves every  30 minutes with the entire trip taking only 15 minutes aboard:

See: http://www.skyshuttlehk.com

Fares and schedules aboard TurboJet can be seen below:

http://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/routing-sailing-schedule/hong-kong-macau/sailing-schedule-fares

The ferry service between Hong Kong and Macau takes 55 minutes versus 15 minutes by air. 
  An accident investigation is underway.

Fortunately, all of the injured involved NON-life-threatening injuries.

The Macau-bound jet-foil left the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal in Sheung Wan at about 0830 hours.

TurboJet said the ferry was traveling at a speed of 64 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour) at the time of the incident. Weather conditions were said to be fine.

The "Cacilhas" received its last annual inspection in July last year and the captain had 34 years of sailing experience on the same type of vessel, according to the operator.

Unfortunately, at least 10 incidents where ferries collided with other ships, buoys, or docks have been reported in recent years. 

The most serious occurred when a Hong Kong Electric boat collided with a ferry off Lamma Island in October 2012, resulting in 39 killed and 92 injured. It was the the deadliest boat accident in Hong Kong in over 40 years.

Relatives of passengers killed in 2012 collision, known as the Lamma ferry tragedy, announced last month that they were preparing to sue the government for compensation and the right to review the accident report.

The government released a summary in April, pinpointing misconduct by 17 unidentified officials and "suspected criminality" as well as "serious systemic failings" in the Marine Department.

In May, more than 30 people were injured when a high-speed ferry also operated by Shun Tak and carrying 162 passengers collided with a Mainland cargo ship in waters off the Cheung Chau ferry pier. 

That above collision followed another incident in November in which a ferry bound for Macau apparently hit some kind of refuse in the water, causing it to suddenly stop, injuring 87 people.

TurboJet has established emergency hotlines in both Hong Kong and Macau: Hong Kong 852 2859 3333 and Macau 853 2870 3661.