The One With Lamma Ferry Disaster – Who Is To Be Blamed?

It is indeed a dark time for Hong Kong.

If you have not heard, a tragic, tragic accident happened on Oct 1 just offshore of Lamma Island. Two vessels collided at night; one was a passenger ferry, another a Hongkong Electric boat. Some 38 people died, more than 100 injured. The pictures were shocking, the first-hand account revealing.

(Photos below from the excellent coverage on

Who is to be blamed?

Would it be the passenger vessel, whose captain was said to be overworked and took his ferry safely to the pier, leaving the boat to its fate? Would it be the Hongkong Electric boat, which was ferrying its workers across the busy water off Yung Shue Wan to reach Victoria Harbour to catch the fireworks? Or, like how some people put it, is it the Chinese government, onto whom people tend to blame for overtaxed infrastructure, unnecessary lavish celebration and giant, invisible hand in the authority’s response to the disaster?

I read with dismay as the drama unfolds almost hourly. Those who died yesterday, had plans for today. All they were looking forward to catch some fireworks and celebrate the long weekend. Those who left behind were distraught by the trauma on who they can save, who they can’t, amidst the terrifying consequences as the boat sinks into its watery death.

Whichever way you look at it, this has to be the biggest human tragedy that has struck Hong Kong ever since I lived here.

And you know the biggest irony? The day before the accident, my friends and I were at Lamma having our favorite seafood dinner after a day of hiking. Granted, I was at Sok Kwu Wan, but I left the island at 8.20 p.m. Almost exactly 24 hours before disaster struck. On days like this, I count my blessings for being alive.

Join me and the rest of Hong Kong as we mourn for the dead.

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