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Lamma ferry disaster

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the collision of vessels near Lamma Island. After the incident happened on the evening of October 1 last year, the relevant government departments immediately launched a full rescue operation. I also rushed right away to the Police Headquarters Command and Control Centre and the South Horizons Public Pier to keep abreast of the latest developments of the rescue efforts. Afterwards, I went to five hospitals to see the injured and express my sympathy to the victims' families.

The following day, I convened an inter-departmental meeting with senior Government officials to discuss the follow-up actions to take. I then gave an account of the situation at a press conference in the afternoon.

Bearing in mind the lessons learnt from the disaster, the SAR Government is now following up in earnest the recommendations of the independent Commission of Inquiry and maritime experts. Putting public safety first, we will formulate short, medium and long-term measures with the industry to enhance maritime safety and tighten passenger vessel safety requirements.

We will also handle the internal investigation in an impartial and speedy manner. The investigation is led by the Transport and Housing Bureau, and the work of its investigation team has entered a substantive stage. We will deal with any dereliction or neglect of duty in a serious manner. Should any suspected breaches of the law be found, we will definitely report them to the law enforcement agencies for follow-up action.

As regards the management and procedures of the Marine Department, the Steering Committee chaired by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, is now conducting a comprehensive review and analysis with a view to carrying out systemic reform.

Let me extend my deepest sympathy once again to the families of the victims and to all other passengers in the incident. Also, let me reiterate that the SAR Government will do its best to follow up on the incident.

September 30, 2013