Hong Kong boat crash report finds 'systemic failings'

The Lamma IV pleasure boat being recovered on 2 October 2012 Eight children were amongst the 39 passengers who died as a result of the collision

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A report into a Hong Kong boat crash which killed 39 people says "systemic failings" in the marine department contributed to the accident.

The report criticised "a litany of errors", such as a lack of lifejackets for children and the absence of a watertight door on one boat.

The pleasure boat Lamma IV and a high-speed ferry, the Sea Smooth, collided off Hong Kong's Lamma Island last year.

It was the worst maritime accident in Hong Kong for over 40 years.

The report said the marine department had not enforced safety standards sufficiently on the Lamma IV.

"In the process of designing, constructing and surveying the Lamma IV... there was a litany of errors committed at almost every stage by many different people," it said.

Inspectors had declared the vessel compliant with safety standards. However, the lack of a watertight door to the steering gear compartment led to the Lamma IV sinking quickly, the report said.

Seats of the vessel had also not been bolted down, causing them to slide and trap some of the victims, it added.

Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying said the government would take the report seriously.

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

The collision happened on 1 October, China's National Day. Mr Leung said this year's National Day fireworks display in Hong Kong would be cancelled.

Last month, Hong Kong police charged the captains of the two vessels with several counts of manslaughter.

Parts of the report have been redacted to ensure they receive a fair trial.

Transport accidents resulting in fatalities are extremely rare in Hong Kong, which has a highly regulated transport system.

The crash was Hong Kong's worst maritime accident since 1971, when an accident on a ferry left 88 people dead.

Map showing location of collision

1. Hong Kong Electric boat departs power plant for firework display in Victoria Harbour

2. Ferry departs Hong Kong island on regular route to Lamma Island

3. Collision occurs north of Lamma Island. Damaged ferry continues to port at Yung Shue Wan. Lamma IV sinks.

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