Lai See

Ferry companies shouldn't be subsidised while they burn dirty fuel

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 May, 2013, 2:53am

No subsidies for polluting ferries

Hong Kong Pollution Watch (HKPW) has submitted a formal objection to the proposal to build additional pier floors at Central Piers Nos 4, 5 and 6, which was due to be discussed at the Legislative Council Panel on Transport yesterday.

One of the justifications for the work, according to Legco papers, is that it would offer long-term help "in improving the financial viability of the six major outlying ferry routes on a sustained basis".

HKPW is objecting to the idea on the grounds that it would subsidise the operations of New World First Ferry, which, it says, "emits some of the worst dark smoke pollution in Hong Kong". The group urges the work be postponed until either the ferry company stops polluting the air or another ferry operator is found. HKPW also says the ferry company is endangering the health of its employees who work at the ferry terminals as a result of the emissions from the ferries.

The same might be said of the Star Ferry which operates from Central Pier 7. The tie-up has a first-floor viewing area with a high pitched roof, rather than a flat roof. The idea is to provide a pleasant vantage point from which to view the harbour. However, when the ferries dock their funnels are just a few feet below the level of the floor. The structure of the roof acts as a trap for the low-grade fuel being burned, even when the wind is blowing.

Accordingly, the first impact on the senses is not the fine view but the stink of exhaust fumes, to say nothing of what we are breathing in. It is surely time to end this nonsense and make these ferries use cleaner fuel.


A helping hand

Our recent discussion on the return of the prawn cocktail has prompted a reader, who is also a member of the Hong Kong Club, to send us an interesting snippet. He confirms our view that the establishment is enjoying a resurgence with the news that prawn cocktail is back on the club's menu.

However, this is no ordinary prawn cocktail - it is served with a brandy-infused mayonnaise using the rarest cognac. It's on the menu as Prawn Cocktail "Marie Rose" and comprises of Club Brandy & Tomato Mayonnaise. An "epicurean delight", we're told. Our reader adds: "With so much money to waste we feel this is the least we can do to alleviate the plight of prawn trawlers in Hong Kong." This is a dig at Jake van der Kamp, our colleague who recently opined that since the club had more money than it knows what to do with, it should establish a charities trust and donate cash to one or two causes around town. Spicing up the prawn cocktail to help the ailing trawlers was not quite what he had in mind.


We're only here for the Guinness

Something for rugby fans. Guinness has arranged for the Barbarians rugby team to be in Delaney's, in Wan Chai, on Tuesday evening from 6-7pm. They're the team that will be taking on the British Lions in Hong Kong a week from today. It's slightly unclear from the publicity material as to whether it's the whole team or a few of them: "Guinness invites Hong Kong to join this one time only event, meet some of the best rugby players in the world."

We can't help feeling it's an invitation from Guinness to drink more Guinness.


Saying it with flowers

Is Bob Diamond planning a comeback? The erstwhile chief executive of Barclays was forced out following the Libor-rigging scandal, has been spotted at London's Chelsea Flower Show. To date he has been keeping a low profile, the Evening Standard reports, so low that many were under the impression he would soon be heading off to a more sympathetic environment, in the US. He was seen hanging out at the Morgan Stanley drinks event at the show. "Diamond might be an interesting hire for Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley," the paper muses.


Poor focus

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones has incurred the wrath of netizens following remarks made at a gathering of University of Virginia students. He said it is difficult for mothers to be successful traders because connecting with a child is a focus "killer". As long as women continue having children, he said, the industry is likely to be dominated by men, The Washington Post reported. He's being slammed by social media for being sexist. Hopefully it won't be too distracting for him.