Wider use of Governor's boat urged

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 1997, 12:00am

The Governor's launch, Lady Maurine, should be put to wider use, it has been sug gested.

The luxury vessel was used just nine times by the Pattens last year.

Democrat legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip wants the Director of Audit to look into the matter and come up with some ideas.

On a further two occasions last year, the launch was used by Government House staff with Mr Patten's permission.

Over the year, $1.6 million was spent on maintenance, while a crew was kept on standby.

Lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, suggested the Government find additional uses for the craft, which is to be made available to chief executive Tung Chee-hwa after the handover.

The Governor's spokesman, Kerry McGlynn, said: 'He often uses the boat to sail to good hiking spots and on dragon boat race days. He also takes out visiting VIPs for harbour trips or a day in waters around the New Territories.' Mr Tung's press officer, Elin Wong Wai-kuen, said the former shipping magnate does not own a yacht. She did not know whether he planned to make good use of the Lady Maurine, christened in 1953.

Mr Chan said: 'I think the Director of Audit should look into this issue to see if we are getting value for money.' Deputy Director of Audit Johnsam Au Chung-man said: 'In fairness, the boat is old and the cost of maintaining it is relative to its age.

'One has to compare what it would cost to build a new one or hire a yacht in Sai Kung for a day.' Mr Patten did not use the Lady Maurine to watch yesterday's dragon boat races in Sha Tin. But a spokesman said he was likely to use it again before he leaves Hong Kong on July 1.