Passengers on a Lamma Island to Central ferry were left shaken on Thursday night after the boat they were on collided with a mainland vessel, tearing a hole in its hull. Worried passengers were left in the dark during the confusion as crew prevented passengers from photographing the damage as the ferry limped to shore. The incident came almost three years after a Lamma passenger ferry sank, killing dozens.

The Sea Spirit, a catamaran operated by Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry (HKKF), departed from the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier at Lamma Island for Central at around 7pm on Thursday, Oriental Daily reportedIt collided with a 50-metre long mainland river steamer off Green Island near Kennedy Town. None of the 30 passengers aboard the ship were injured.

green island
Green Island, where the collision took place. Photo: Google Maps.

The left side of the bow was damaged in the accident, leaving a two-metre hole in the vessel’s hull. The river steamer drove away and the Sea Spirit continued on its route to Central Pier No. 4.

central pier
The Central pier.

Staff from the ferry company soon arrived to complete a damage assessment. A spokesperson from the Marine Department told Sing Tao Daily that it was following up on the accident.

Marion Shearman, a Lamma resident asked her husband to call the police and Marine Department directly as she did not trust the crew “to do the right thing”. Shearman, whose daughter was on the ferry, said: “It was the 6:50 from Lamma… As usual no members of the crew came out to explain what was happening. After 10 minutes the Sea Spirit started its engines again and started to move slowly to Central pier. When they reached the pier they were ushered off and didn’t want the passengers to take photographs of the damage.”

hkkf ferry
The HKKF’s ferry after the crash in 2012. Photo: Wikicommons.

On National Day in 2012, a HKKF-operated Lamma passenger ferry and a Hongkong Electric Company-owned vessel collided off Yung Shue Wan, killing 39 people in one of Hong Kong’s deadliest ferry accidents. This year, the captains of both vessels were found guilty of manslaughter and endangering the safety of others at sea.

Update: At 4pm on September 18, HKKF told HKFP, “The incident is still under investigation; hence, we are afraid that no further details can be provided at this stage.  Safety is always our number one priority and on-going trainings are provided to our crew members.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.