Seamenless Ferries Collide in Hong Kong

By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)

Two ferries collided in Hong Kong on Monday killing 36. One was traveling from Hong Kong to Lamma Island, the other was owned by the Hong Kong Electric Company that had employees and their families on board to view fireworks.

The real problem here is that certain cultures don’t know how to handle their ferries. Western civilizations provide safety tips to their ferries. Ferries should avoid colliding at all costs, but if they are going to collide how about using a rubber buffer to prevent potential fissures in the ships hull that can be caused by collisions.

It’s unclear how many seaman were manning these vessels at the time of the accident but there should have been more. Ships can never have enough seamen. Seamen can always expedite an evacuation so that passengers don’t have to choke on what the other ship has to offer. Seamen can also be exchanged after an accident. They can offer assistance to passengers on the other ship if they are understaffed.

Perhaps this is simply an issue of long term versus leisure travel. One boat was speeding to a different island while another was sitting there enjoying the view. How about these boats use specific flags, or rather large handkerchiefs, to declare their intentions? Certain colors might mean that they want an accident. Others would mean they just want to maintain a straight path. (If you look at the handkerchief code link it will make sense.)

Only the Hurricane Impact Visibility has caused more deaths among seamen and passengers than collisions among unsuspecting boats.