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Cargo ship master gets 16 months jail for HK crash

Cargo ship master gets 16 months jail for HK crash

The master of a Chinese cargo ship which rammed into another cargo vessel in fog last year, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail, local reports said.

The collision off the south coast of Hong Kong caused the death of six crew on the other vessel.

A Hong Kong court found that Ruan Cuncai had failed to sound a fog signal or adequately reduce his speed of 11 knots before the crash. He admitted one count of endangering others' safety at sea The Wang Da 6, crashed into another cargo vessel, the Hai Bang Da 199, in foggy weather last April. While all 14 crew on Wang Da 6 were rescued, six of the other vessel's 11 crew drowned.

Two experts testified that Ruan was in breach of the International Regulations For Preventing Collisions at Sea, making two fatal errors.Not only had Ruan had been indecisive in taking action to avoid a collision he had even attempted to steer to port minutes before the collision, in clear contravention of regulations to steer to starboard to prevent head-on collisions.

The judge also ruled that fog was not a mitigating factor as the vessel was equipped with radar. "The collision would have been avoided if the defendant complied with the rule [by changing course or reducing his speed]," district court judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng said.Ruan, who has been in custody for 14 months since the incident, will be.required to serve the remainder of the sentence

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