Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung mayor orders better safety measures on ferry

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Upset over criticism by the Consumers' Foundation of the safety of the Kaohsiung ferry service between Kushan (鼓山) and Cijin (旗津), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) urged the city's transportation bureau yesterday to improve the service by September.

An evaluation report of public and private ferry services nationwide released by the foundation on Monday showed that a ferry from Kushan to Cijin on Sunday afternoon was carrying 250 passengers -- 147 people who walked on and 103 on scooters.

As the ferry has a maximum capacity of 170 passengers, the ferry had surpassed that limit by 80 passengers.

The report also mentioned that one of the life jacket cabinets was locked while the ferry was in operation and that there were no fire extinguishers on board.

"Safety should always be our principal concern. The number of passengers should also be controlled," Chen told Kaohsiung City Transportation Bureau Director Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材), at yesterday's meeting.

"Life jackets should be prepared for contingency use. It is ridiculous for passengers to be unable to open the cabinets in which the life jackets are stored. In case of emergency, rescue operations would be hindered by the passengers' inability to access life jackets," she said.

"I hope that, come September, I won't have to face criticism by city councilors about the safety of the Cijin ferry service," she told Wang.

The 10-minute ferry ride is a common means of transportation for people traveling between Kushan and Cijin.

The ferry can accommodate passengers and scooters. Passengers on scooters are not required to get off their vehicles while on deck.

The release of the report almost coincided with the second anniversary of the June 29, 2005, accident, in which a ferry heading to Cijin collided with a cargo ship, injuring 40 passengers.

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