The crew of the Lamma IV did not teach passengers how to don lifejackets before setting out on the ill-fated fireworks cruise on October 1 last year, a senior Hongkong Electric executive told the commission of inquiry into the National Day ferry disaster.
Francis Cheng Cho-ying, general manager of the company’s generation division, said crew members only gave life-jacket instruction to passengers on the last Friday of every month.
“I have seen it many times because they do so every month,” he told the commission on Monday.
But he said it was not done on October 1.
Lamma IV and sister vessel Lamma II, used to carry employees to and from the company’s power plant on Lamma Island on working days, were taking staff and their families to view the fireworks when the Lamma IV collided with the ferry Sea Smooth, killing 39 people.
Cheng said there were diagrams on the vessel illustrating how to wear lifejackets and there were many staff on board that night who had seen the demonstration.
The commission was told that after the incident, improvements had been made to other Hongkong Electric vessels. These included better fastening of seats to the deck, more secure false ceiling panels, additional vertical railings on the sundeck and replacing lace-type lifejackets with buckle types.
Survivors have told how seats came loose from the deck and ceiling panels fell down after the impact.