Shipyards move threatens 3,000 jobs, owners claim

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 September, 1998, 12:00am

Thousands of jobs will be lost if shipyards on Tsing Yi Island are forced to move, owners claimed yesterday.

Representatives of 14 shipyards will complain to the Ombudsman today about a Housing Department directive to move by the end of next month.

The Government said the plan was part of reclamation works to provide open space and reduce noise pollution. The shipyards will be moved 200 metres further from public housing.

The owners, however, are not happy with the arrangement. Chan Ming, the manager of San Hing Shipyard, said the Government had behaved recklessly.

'We have hired experts to survey the new site. The report we've got is that the land is not suitable for shipyards like us,' Mr Chan said. 'We repair ships weighing more than 3,000 tonnes each, but the land has five to 10 metres of mud under the surface. It simply can't bear the weight.

'If the Government forces us to move, all we can do is close the shipyards. Three thousand or more workers will lose their jobs and we will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. With unemployment so high and the economy so bad, many of us are worried about the future,' Mr Chan said.

'We have asked the Government to give us information regarding the new site many times, but received no reply. Now the Housing Department suddenly orders us to move out. We think this is reckless and irresponsible.' However, a spokesman for the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau said the door was still open for negotiation.

'We had our own consultants survey the new site. Our conclusion is that the land is perfect for those shipyards.'