Ferry and cargo ship collide in Hong Kong, 33 injured

HONG KONG (AFP) - Thirty-three people were injured when two boats collided late Wednesday in Hong Kong, authorities said, the latest accident to hit the city's busy waterways.

Authorities said the collision occurred just off the outlying island of Cheung Chau between a mainland Chinese vessel and a high speed ferry.

"A Macau ferry collided with a vessel from the mainland," a government spokeswoman told AFP. "Thirty-one injured are at the pier and two with comparatively more serious injuries have been sent to a hospital in Cheung Chau," she said of the incident which occurred around 11:00 pm local time (1515 GMT).

The Macau ferry later arrived at its terminal on Hong Kong Island, a police spokeswoman told AFP, but added that the Chinese vessel, a cargo ship, was still at the scene. Passenger ferries regularly cover the hour-long distance between Hong Kong and Macau.

Footage from TVB news channel showed damage on the front right corner of the double deck ferry, while media reported that 162 passengers were on board at the time of the collision.

Earlier this month, 11 crew members from a Chinese cargo ship went missing after it collided with a container vessel and sank just outside Hong Kong waters.

In November of last year, a high-speed ferry travelling from Hong Kong to Macau collided with an "unidentified object" injuring 87 people and raising new concerns over maritime safety. It came a year after a ferry crash claimed 39 lives - the city's worst maritime disaster for more than 40 years.

The deadly collision between a high-speed ferry and a pleasure boat shocked the Asian financial hub, which prides itself on its good safety record.

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