Naval expert discusses Lamma IV crew requirements
A naval expert expressed surprise at the different crew requirements for Lamma IV and its sister ship Lamma II, when speaking at the commission of inquiry into the National Day Lamma ferry disaster on Tuesday morning.
The minimum number of crew members for the Lamma IV is set at four, while that required for the Lamma II, a vessel of similar size and capacity, is two.
Commission-appointed Captain Nigel Pryke said he was surprised that Lamma II, a double-decked vessel with similar size and capacity of Lamma IV, only required two crew members.
"I would find it very difficult to understand why it isn’t four as well," he said.
He said any double decker should have at least four crew members, so that when two went out to help with departure or disembarkment, there would still be one person in the wheelhouse to help the coxswain with lookout duties.
When the Lamma IV collided with another ferry, the Sea Smooth, on October 1 of last year, killing 39 people, there were only three crew members with sea-going experience on board the Lamma IV, but the fourth non-passenger aboard was a Hongkong Electric employee with no sea-going experience.
Pryke also said the reasons for setting the minimum manning level aboard vessels ought to be documented so that vessel owners can have a full understanding of their roles and requirements.