PLEASURE boat users and ferries operating from piers between Central and Wan Chai face months of disruption when survey work begins at the end of this month for the third phase of the Central reclamation. The $50 million investigation is set to cause chaos for junk and small boat operators who will have to navigate around huge barges moored between Queen's Pier and public piers in Wan Chai. The area is already heavily congested at peak times by boats ferrying staff to and from airport-related projects at Chek Lap Kok, north Lantau and the outlying islands. Operators, who have so far been left in the dark by the plans, feel additional restrictions will lengthen journey times and lead to increased competition among frustrated skippers to land their passengers first. 'Unless the situation is handled properly, the area around Queen's Pier could become especially hazardous,' said one operator. The pier is a popular embarkation area for weekend junk trips and tourist boat tours around the harbour. Passengers are already being squeezed into a smaller area as builders repair the crumbling facility, so the Marine Department is encouraging operators to use public steps near Lung King Street in Wan Chai. It is also negotiating with Hong Kong Ferry to open two sets of landing steps near Pier Seven of the new Central reclamation. But tour firms and construction companies said they still had to be briefed about the survey, even though it began in a couple of weeks and would last six months. Watertours spokesman Rex Ng Chi-wing confirmed there had been no contact with the Marine Department. 'We don't have any information at all,' Mr Ng said. Similar comments were made by airport terminal contractor, BCJ joint venture. 'As far as I am aware nobody has commented to us,' said director Richard Smith. The Marine Department's assistant director of port services, Tsang Man-ching, said discussions had taken place with the leading ferry firms. 'We are meeting with the contractors and ferry operators to sort out solutions. We will try our very best to alleviate the traffic impact,' Mr Tsang said.