A UNITED Arab Emirates (UAE) court yesterday charged a Hong Kong supertanker captain with damage to property after a collision with another ship more than a year ago. The case was adjourned until April 24 after three judges took not-guilty pleas from Captain Terry Lau Chung-hui, 46, and the British master of the other ship, Captain Donald Shields. It is a no-jury trial. Lau said from his hotel in Dubai last night that the situation was very frustrating. 'I think the trial will take months,' he said. He said having to stay in a hotel was bad 'but better than being in a prison'. A spokesman for his employer, World-Wide Shipping Agency, said this was likely to be the first of many hearings in the trial. Lau's Panamanian-registered supertanker, the Seki, collided with the UAE-registered Baynunah in March last year. The collision in the Gulf of Oman caused the Seki to spill 16,000 tonnes of oil. Lau said his wife and family were visiting him for Easter, although they would return to Britain by the next hearing. He is a permanent Hong Kong resident and a full British passport holder.