Hong Kong’s transport department will take over an investigation into allegations of past negligence at the city’s marine agency that arose after a ferry collision killed 39 people last year.
The probe will be taken over from the Marine Department itself, which was looking into reports of problems within its ranks that surfaced as part of an inquiry into the October 2012 crash.
Hong Kong Transport and Housing Secretary Anthony Cheung said in a statement yesterday he was making the move “to ensure the procedural integrity and impartiality of the investigation.” Investigators will look for “possible maladministration and neglect of duty,” Cheung said.
The collision, the city’s worst maritime disaster in four decades, occurred as the ferry brought employees of Hongkong Electric Co. and their relatives to Victoria Harbor to watch a fireworks display. An April report found poor maintenance and the absence of children’s life jackets on the ferry caused some of the deaths.