Yuriy Kulemesin, a Ukrainian captain involved in a deadly 2008 shipping accident, must serve out his 18-month sentence on charges related to endangering life at sea, the Court of Final Appeal ruled on Friday.
The ruling upheld a Court of Appeal judgment last year on one of Hong Kong’s deadliest marine disasters.
Kulemesin was the master of the oil rig supply ship Neftegaz-67, which capsized and sank, killing 18 crew members, after colliding with the bulk carrier Yao Hai off Lantau Island on March 22, 2008.
Rejecting his appeal against conviction, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li said Kulemesin would have to “serve the remainder of his 18-month sentence”.
But the Court of Final Appeal judges cleared Tang Dock-wah, the chief pilot on board the Yao Hai, and allowed his appeal against conviction.
In a 99-page judgment, the judges also ruled that the stretch of water where the accident occurred, off the Brothers Islands, was a narrow channel rather than open water, as contended by Kulemesin’s defence team.
The two vessels were following different navigation rules because, while Neftegaz-67’s officers thought they were in open water, Yao Hai’s believed they were in a narrow channel.
Kulemesin, who was present in court, was immediately taken to the cells.