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SHIPPING & MARINE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Marine Department eyes reformation

Amidst Lamma Island ferry tragedy.

According to a report, secretary for Transport & Housing Prof Anthony Cheung will chair a steering committee to help the Director of Marine conduct a thorough review of the Marine Department, and formulate a work plan for implementing reform measures.

Speaking at a press conference today, Prof Cheung said the commission of inquiry on the Lamma Island ferry tragedy made many recommendations to prevent a recurrence of the accident.

It criticised the department for deficiencies in various work processes, such as the enforcement of life jacket requirements, which it found unacceptable.

Mr Cheung said: "The problems identified do give rise to serious concerns. We must address those concerns properly in order to restore public confidence in our maritime safety regime. Should we come across any maladministration or negligence in duty in our investigation, we shall deal with it in accordance with established civil service procedures."

A task force will be set up within the department to help the director conduct reforms, and international maritime experts will be appointed as advisers.

"The Government places utmost importance on maintaining the highest possible safety standards for local passenger-carrying vessels in our waters," Prof Cheung added.

Director of Marine Francis Liu will supervise and lead staff to ensure co-operation with the steering committee, and will work with the task force.

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