Baby makes debut on Disco Bay ferry

A BABY girl made her debut a little earlier than expected yesterday, arriving on a Discovery Bay ferry with a little help from the crew.

More than 70 passengers aboard the vessel, mainly workers on their way home and a few Discovery Bay residents, laughed and applauded the first cries of the 3.4-kilogram baby.

But to her Indian parents, Rekiminoo and Shernaz Wadia, it all happened too soon.

The excitement began with the departure of the 3.40 pm ferry to Central being delayed for five minutes to take Mrs Wadia on a stretcher, accompanied by her husband and an ambulance officer, to hospital.

Ship's master Leung Cheuk-to, 35, urged passengers to make room in the centre cabin for Mrs Wadia.

Chief engineer Cheng Hing-kwong, 61, went to help with Mrs Wadia's respirator and other life-saving equipment.

The slight delay was made up after Mr Leung increased speed to arrive at Central at 4.05 pm on schedule. Still that proved too late for the baby, who came just as the disembarking plank was lowered.

For Mr Cheng, a veteran seafarer who has worked for the ferry company for six years, the delivery at sea meant good luck.

''Being a sailor from the old generation, I take the baby's birth to mean good luck for the vessels I sail in,'' he said.

Medical superintendent of the Matilda Hospital, Dr Tim Dawbarn, said last night the mother and baby were in good condition.

A spokesman for the Discovery Bay Services Management Limited said the company would send a red packet to the baby.