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Steering Committee offers valuable contribution to MD reform (with photo)

     The last meeting of the Steering Committee on Systemic Reform of the Marine Department was held today (April 28). As chairman, the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, said that the Government accepted the recommendations of the Steering Committee and would continue with the systemic reform of the Marine Department based on the overall broad directions and priorities set out by the Steering Committee.

     "In the past three years, under the drive and supervision of the Steering Committee, apart from following up the recommendations of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Collision of Vessels near Lamma Island on 1 October 2012 (CoI Report), the Marine Department has implemented various reform measures in a number of major areas, including passenger safety; survey of local vessels; internal governance; manpower shortage and training; etc., after a comprehensive root-and-branch review and making reference to a detailed review report by maritime experts from the United Kingdom. The Marine Department has made significant progress in improving and enhancing its operational and regulatory capabilities to more fully and effectively discharge its functions and responsibilities in marine administration," Professor Cheung said.

     "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to members of the Steering Committee, Ms Alice Tai Yuen-ying and Mr Irving Koo Yee-yin, for their sterling work and valuable contribution in the past three years," he added.

     In the past three years, the Marine Department has formulated and implemented a series of improvement measures to enhance marine safety (for example, enhancing look-out, strengthening the training and examination of coxswains, etc.); conducted a two-phase organisational review to improve its regulatory functions and business processes; and implemented a series of stop-gap measures to address the acute recruitment difficulties and manpower shortage of the two major professional grades. The Department needs to sustain the improvement measures implemented and further tackle issues on the regulatory regimes of local vessels, internal governance, and manpower and training of the two major professional grades in the Department.

     Looking ahead, the Steering Committee supported the Marine Department to continue to follow up the recommendations of the CoI Report yet to be completed and take forward some major reform measures such as reviewing the regulatory regime for local pleasure vessels; reviewing the coxswain licensing system; re-writing the codes of practice for local vessels; strengthening records management through the use of information technology; replicating the use of good practices across the Department; setting up a more elaborate internal audit and compliance mechanism; and conducting a grade structure review for the two major professional grades, etc.

     The Steering Committee considers that the challenge ahead is to sustain the momentum of change and improvement in the Marine Department, and to inculcate a work culture of embracing change in response to the latest social needs and improving the business processes and practices on a continuous basis. "Based on the overall broad directions and priorities set out by the Steering Committee, we are confident that the Marine Department would rise to the challenges," Professor Cheung said.

     "The Marine Department will carry on with the reform measures and report progress to the Secretary for Housing and Transport on a regular basis," the Director of Marine, Ms Maisie Cheng, said.

     The Steering Committee has published a final report and will be available at Transport and Housing Bureau's ( and Marine Department's website (, on its work in the past three years. The report also sets out the next steps and overall broad directions of the reform of the Marine Department.

     In response to the CoI Report, the Government established the Steering Committee on May 3, 2013 to advise and steer the Director of Marine to conduct a thorough departmental review and reform with a focus on the regulatory framework on safety of local passenger vessels, business processes and operational procedures as well as the manpower and training strategy of the Department, and to formulate a work plan for implementing the necessary reform measures. It has held 17 meetings in total since its establishment.

Ends/Thursday, April 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:41


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