The Marine Department has stepped up enforcement actions in a month-long campaign to crack down on vessels not observing sea traffic rules while sailing in the Northern and Kap Shui Mun Fairways.
The Acting General Manager (Vessel Traffic Services), Mr Raymond Chung Siu-man, has said that the exercise, launched on February 21, is to ensure proper sea traffic at the two fairways which are collision "black spots".
"Patrol launches from our Harbour Patrol Section (HPS) are being deployed to these fairways to enforce collision prevention regulations. Our officers will closely monitor the conduct of vessels when they overtake or cross other vessels and whether they are on the right side of the fairway.
"Prosecutions will be initiated against non-compliance of rules based on officers' observation of behaviour of vessels in relation to the overall traffic situation in the vicinity."
The maximum penalty for violating a collision regulation is $25,000 and imprisonment of six months.
Mr Chung stressed that collisions at sea could be reduced if masters followed closely the International Regulations on the Prevention of Collision at Sea in navigating their vessels.
The enforcement actions are part of the Marine Department's multiple measures to prevent collisions at sea, particularly in view of the higher risk of collision during the foggy season.
After the current exercise, the Marine Department will set up a special task force with its own patrol launches to step up enforcement at all the fairways and traffic separation schemes in the Hong Kong waters on a regular basis.
The Department aims to reduce collisions and to impart the correct attitude in navigation among masters in the long run.
The total number of reported collisions within the Hong Kong waters in 1999 was 246 cases, a slight increase of 4.3 per cent when compared with 236 cases in 1998.
Marine Department's analysis of the 1999 figures indicated that 97 cases occurred when both vessels were underway, and identified the Northern Fairway and Kap Shui Mun Fairway as black spots where 15 collisions of this type took place.
Source of Information :
Hong Kong Marine Department through Danny Ng (HK