Passenger-cargo sampans — small vessels licensed to ply the waters between Kaohsiung Harbor and the nearby island of Cijin (旗津) — will soon become a thing of the past, Kaohsiung officials said yesterday.
The city government issued an announcement for forced procurement of all 23 of the vessels still licensed to operate in the city, an official said.
The city government has earmarked NT$53 million (US$1.52 million) for the procurement project, Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材), director of the city’s Transportation Bureau said.
He said sampan owners will get between NT$2.1 million and NT$2.5 million per vessel upon having their licenses annulled, depending on the age of the sampans and the number of crewmen.
The bureau plans to use the sampan piers for the expansion of tourist waiting rooms at Gushan and Cijin ferry stations. Wang said the work is expected to be completed by the end of June in preparation for the World Games in July.
The procurement decision was made after the city government and the Kaohsiung Harbor Administration reached an agreement to maintain order at sea by phasing out the sampans in the harbor area, as there have been several accidents in which sampans have collided with larger vessels, Wang said.
However, Lin Chih-hsiung (林志雄), a top official of a fishing union in the city, on Sunday refused to accept the prices offered by the government and said the city government should make more effort to protect sampan operators’ rights and interests, as well as help them switch to other jobs.
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