One dead as CotaiJet collides with fishing boat

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Issue 455, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 482
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A CotaiJet ferry sailing from Hong Kong to Taipa collided yesterday with a mainland-registered fishing boat off the Macau coast at about 11.45am, resulting in one death and three injuries.

Because the accident took place 7.5 nautical miles off Macau’s east near Zhuhai which belongs to the mainland waters, the Maritime Administration of Macau said in a press statement that the cause of the collision had to be investigated by the Zhuhai maritime department.

According to the statement, a wooden fishing boat “Yuet Taishan 33040” containing three mainlanders and a CotaiJet ferry “The Venetian” which departed Hong Kong at 11am with 130 passengers and 13 crew members clashed near the No.2 buoy in the Ilha Verde water channel just before noon.

The fishing boat was damaged and sank after the collision whereby the three passengers on board fell off into the sea, the official statement said.

One of the three mainlanders was rescued by the Macau Customs’ frogmen whilst the other two were saved by fishing boats nearby.

The three, together with a man surnamed Long who was on board the CotaiJet ferry, having suffered from neck injuries, were immediately shipped to the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal where the ambulance was standing by to take them to the Conde de São Januário Central Hospital.

The 54-year-old captain of the fishing boat, according to TDM news, was already in a coma when he was pulled from the water. He later died in the intensive care unit, after the rescue yesterday afternoon, while the other three injured remain admitted at the hospital.

The Macau Maritime Administration statement said the mainland maritime department sent staff to the passenger ferry for follow-up after receiving a report from the SAR’s Vessel Traffic Management Centre.

According to Cotai Chu Kong Shipping Management Services (CCKS), all passengers on board the ferry safely disembarked at the Taipa temporary ferry terminal at about 3pm.

The vessel, with only minor damage being sighted, was able to return to the passenger terminal for berthing.

The official statement said inspectors will be sent to assess the ferry’s level of damage and whether it was still appropriate to sail.

CCKS was requested to submit a report to the Maritime Administration to review current facilities so as to avoid accidents of a similar nature from happening again.

In addition, the government statement said they would fully assist the Zhuhai maritime authority in the accident investigation, and at the same time maintain communication with the Marine Department of Hong Kong with which all CotaiJet vessels had their registration.

As a result of the accident, one CotaiJet scheduled to depart from Taipa at 1.30pm was cancelled yesterday.

Cotai Waterjets in its press statement yesterday said they were “deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries resulted”, and have already urged CCKS, the manager and operator of the ferry service, to cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

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