Coroner’s inquest to be held 12 years following Hong Kong ferry tragedy

Lamma IV in 2010 (Photo: Ck Chan)
Lamma IV in 2010 (Photo: Ck Chan)

The Hong Kong Coroner's Court is set to conduct an inquest into a maritime incident wherein 39 people were killed after two vessels collided just off Hong Kong's Lamma Island nearly 12 years prior.

The inquest, which is scheduled to commence before the end of this year, will be held to conduct a more thorough probe into the collision between the locally-registered ferries Lamma IV (pictured) and Sea Smooth on October 1, 2012.

The collision on the said date caused Lamma IV to sink shortly afterwards. Thirty of the ferry's occupants were pronounced deceased at the scene.

Eight others were later declared dead on arrival in hospital and another individual died four days later while undergoing treatment.

A group of lawyers representing the families of four of the victims had earlier told the Hong Kong High Court that additional police investigations have yielded new evidence warranting the inquest.

One investigation revealed that Cheoy Lee Shipyards, which built Lamma IV, had failed to equip the ferry with a watertight door. The omission of this door is said to have contributed to the water ingress that caused people to be trapped on board the vessel as it sank.

However, the earlier call for a coroner's inquest was rejected by the High Court in late 2022 on the basis of insufficient evidence that would warrant a deeper probe into the tragedy.

A High Court judge stated that a Commission of Inquiry (COI) report issued in 2013 had already identified the incident's "immediate cause" as well as the "structural causes rooted in the design and equipment on board the vessel."

The Coroner's Court held a closed-door, pre-inquest review on Thursday, March 28. Also present at the review were the family members of some of the victims as well as legal teams representing other victims and their families.

The pre-inquest review also examined reports and statements from 329 witnesses.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Baird Maritime / Work Boat World