Hong Kong Crew May Face Manslaughter Charges

Amid the investigation on one of Hong Kong’s deadliest ferry crashes in  decades that resulted in 39 deaths, according to a British maritime expert, the crash was ‘undoubtedly’ caused by human error, from The Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report: In Thursday testimony, expert witness Capt. Nigel Pryke said his analysis suggested the main fault for the crash lay with the captain of the Sea Smooth, a commuter ferry that was carrying passengers from Hong Kong Island to the dock at Lamma Island, an idyllic bedroom community popular with expatriates located off the coast of Hong Kong. Maritime rules dictate that when two vessels are about to experience a head-on collision, each are supposed to turn starboard, or right, thus avoiding a crash. While the Lamma IV altered its course 13 degrees starboard, Mr. Pryke noted that the Sea Smooth captain turned 16 degrees to the left-hand port side, instead. While the Lamma IV could have done more to avoid a collision, including by being more attentive to radar readings, Mr. Pryke—whose analysis relied on radar tracking information and other evidence provided by Hong Kong authorities—said that the fault was mostly the Sea Smooth’s. “Even at the very last moment she could have very easily avoided contact with a small alteration of course to starboard,” he said. The Sea Smooth, he said, “was primarily responsible for the collision,” and human error was “undoubtedly” responsible for the crash—error perhaps fueled by the fact that the captain had been alone in the wheelhouse.
Another article from The Wall Street Journal Real Time Report reports the crew members could face manslaughter charges:
The head of a commission tasked with investigating Hong Kong’s worst maritime disaster in a generation ruled Friday that a series of public hearings can begin next week, despite objections
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