HK government seeks HK$1.22m for bridge repairs

The Hong Kong government is asking for HK$1.22m (US$156,000) in repair fees from tugboat captain Lai Muk-hei and Wing Yip Engineering Works after a barge

exceeding the height restriction for Kap Shui Mun Bridge rammed and damaged it on October 23rd 2015, reports the Hong Kong Standard.

The barge, towed by tugboat Ever Shine No 12, hit the base of Kap Shui Mun Bridge while en route from Lantau to Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter. The crash triggered an alarm system that closed the Kap Shui Mun and Tsing Ma bridge sections of the Lantau Link, freezing traffic to and from the airport for two hours.

The Department of Justice has filed a writ with the High Court on behalf of the Highways Department, accusing the captain of causing the collision.

The tugboat was at that time pulling a dumb lighter for repairs. Its owner, Winway Engineering, said the crane of the dumb lighter was broken and could not be lowered. Therefore they marked the derrick boom of the towed vessel with red and white stripes, meaning the vessel was restricted from entering the Kap Shui Mun Bridge area due to height restrictions. Lai, who had 17 years’ experience as captain, is alleged not to have gone through the check-up procedures, and went via Kap Shui Mun instead of Tsing Ma because of the shorter traveling time. In April the 63-year-old captain was sentenced to four weeks in jail and placed on a year’s probation, while Wing Yip Engineering was fined HK$15,000 in April. Winway Engineering was found not responsible for the collision, as it was believed the firm had taken all reasonable precautions.