• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 10:49pm
NewsHong Kong

8,000 vessels won't have shelter during typhoons, study finds

Marine industry alarmed by bureau study that shows huge shortfall in the number of shelters

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 5:03am

The full extent of the crisis caused by a lack of boat moorings has been revealed, with new government figures showing nearly 8,000 vessels will be without safe haven as the typhoon season approaches.

The marine industry has expressed alarm at the Development Bureau figures.

The shortfall became apparent after a comparison was made between the number of private and marina club moorings available and the number of registered pleasure vessels.

Industry members have appealed to the transport minister for help, but the Marine Department says that there is enough supply to meet demand for the next 12 years.

Paul Zimmerman, a Southern District councillor and chief executive of Designing Hong Kong, said the statistics showed how dire things were as the typhoon season neared.

"Something has to be done immediately before boats are damaged and someone gets hurt. This huge shortage of moorings has also resulted in subletting of moorings at high prices," Zimmerman said.

The bureau revealed the big discrepancy at a meeting of a taskforce of the Harbourfront Commission last week.

At the end of last year, the city had 7,920 pleasure vessels and 4,103 transport and fishing vessels and open sampans.

But it had only 3,230 safe moorings.

With an industry estimate of 800 dry berths, there is still a shortfall of about 8,000.

Last week, about 100 people from an alliance of interests in pleasure boating demanded Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung tackle the shortage.

The groups included the Southern District Ship Builders Association, Designing Hong Kong, Marine Industry Association, the owners and crew of vessels and management and staff of marine operators.

The department denied there was a problem, saying its latest assessment showed the overall supply of typhoon shelters and sheltered anchorages would meet the forecast demand until 2025.

A department spokesman said that it was up to the associations and individuals to find sheltered berthing or mooring places for refuge during inclement weather.

The spokesman said it was not government policy to provide berthing spaces for local vessels in such circumstances.


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Maybe the government should start clearing out the thousands of unseaworthy pieces of junk which currently fill up the 'public' (triad?) typhoon shelters. Wake up people!
Excuse me, "it was not government policy to provide berthing spaces for local vessels" ?
May I remind the Marine Department that the government is there to "serve" the public . That's why you are called civil servants and it's the civil service.
And if you really believe it's not your job to provide sufficient berths and moorings, than at least do not be in the way when private initiatives try to setup moorings and berths and just police it to ensure that it is done in a sensible and appropriate manner.
The Marine Department really needs a huge revamp and overhaul because too many things are poorly regulated and are simply put just nonsense. Vessels are allowed to zoom at high speed through HK waters causing numerous accidents year after year.
To operate a pleasure vessel you need to pass a test which has a high fail rate but there is no practical test, meaning pleasure boat license holders can operate a boat without having had any sort of training and having never been on a boat before.
But in its wisdom the department does not accept international pleasure boat licenses from jurisdictions where one has to pass a written and practical test. But for the test in HK they make you to know what is a gudgeon pin because pleasure boat shippers are frequently faced with the problem to fix the piston of their engines when being out on HK waters (that's the area the license is limited to).
"it was not government policy to provide berthing spaces for local vessels"; however, its their policy to PREVENT & Prosecute anyone found to erect protection, or improve natural protection. In fact the entire marine legislation is far too vague and prone to abuse by the marine department. A sensible policy will encourage healthy development of houseboats which can aid the housing problems on land.


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