Government broke promise to shipyards

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 1995, 12:00am

WANDA Szeto reports that the Government still insists on moving the Tsing Yi shipyards to a new site at a cost the owners cannot afford (South China Morning Post, December 16).

The Government must be totally mad to do this.

As far as I can recall, these shipyards were removed many years ago to what was said to be their final location after they were cleared from Cheung Sha Wan. To move them again is, in my estimation, a breach of a promise made when the owners agreed to that location.

The Government then, in its lack of wisdom, began building residential blocks, knowing that there would be a noise problem for the residents of the new blocks. The Government is therefore fully responsible for all expenses if a further removal is necessary.

Moreover, there is the possibility that the same problem will arise very soon in the new location, so this time the Government should give a written undertaking to the shipyard owners that it will take full responsibility if that happens.

These shipyards provide over 90 per cent of the ship repair service of Hong Kong.

If they have to close down, how will that service be replaced? I believe I am right in saying that the Environmental Protection Department consulted neither the Marine Department nor the District Office before giving notice of the closure of the shipyards because of noise. But how does ship repairing operate without noise? And who was responsible for building residential blocks near to the noise? Certainly, neither the shipyards' owners nor the residents of the blocks are responsible for that mindless decision, and it is unfair if the shipyards have to take punishment.

If these shipyards have to close down, 3,000 workers will lose their jobs.

Do we not have enough economic and political headaches in Hong Kong without adding this to the list? ELSIE TU Kowloon