Transport and logistics

HK$14m revamp of Hong Kong Star Ferry looks to make waves with sofas, glass roof and diesel-electric generator

World Star will set sail this month serving route from Tsim Sha Tsui to Disneyland and offering tourist tours of Victoria Harbour

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 7:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 10:36pm

A decommissioned Star Ferry will soon set sail in Victoria Harbour again after a HK$14 million transformation saw its upper deck revamped with luxurious sofas and a glass roof and the vessel fitted with a diesel-electric generator to drastically cut pollution.

Named the World Star, the ferry will start serving a new route between Tsim Sha Tsui and Disneyland on Lantau Island as early as the end of this month.

Star Ferry general manager Johnny Leung Tak-hing said fares would be about HK$180 per round trip. Sailings will depart in the mornings daily from the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, with the return trip late in the afternoon passing by the landmarks of the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Kwai Chung container terminals. Each journey will last about 45 minutes and accommodate a maximum of 180 passengers.

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Currently no ferry route serves the Disney resort, which is located at Sunny Bay. The ferry operator said it believed the new service would draw both tourists and locals.

In the evening, meanwhile, the World Star will take tourists out on one-hour tours to catch a glimpse of the famous skyline along Victoria Harbour. Tickets will cost HK$200.

The ferry will also be available for charter hire, catering to corporate events and weddings.

“What’s special is that World Star can set sail to any destination in Hong Kong waters, unlike its counterparts which are fixed to certain routes and piers,” Leung said.

Operations manager Samson Leung Shui-kin revealed it had taken the team one year to retrofit the World Star with a modern diesel generator. The vessel was previously retired in 2011 after its Hung Hom to Wan Chai route was scrapped.

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By replacing the old diesel combustion engine, the level of sulphur dioxide emitted by the vessel has been reduced by 95 per cent, which passes the latest tier 3 standards laid down by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

“You can see there is actually no smoke coming out from the chimney,” Samson Leung said.

Boasting a glass roof and giant windows, part of the upper deck is now air conditioned with sofa chairs and coffee tables for a more comfortable journey in all weather conditions.

The conversion was subsidised by a HK$4.1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Department’s Pilot Green Transport Fund. The operator said it remained to be seen whether more ferries would undergo similar retrofitting.