The Yilan County Labor Affairs Department has started the planning process for building onshore accommodation for migrant fishers in the port of Nanfangao (南方澳), Deputy Director Lee Fang-ching (李芳菁) said on Tuesday.
The project is to be conducted in three phases, with about 300 beds to be offered in the first phase, which will take two years to complete, with the number increasing in phases two and three, Lee said.
“The final goal is to provide onshore accommodation for all of Nanfangao’s migrant fishers,” she said.
Photo: Chiang Chih-hsiung, Taipei Times
Lee announced the plan in response to calls by migrant rights and church groups to allow migrant fishers to live onshore instead of sleep on the boats on which they work.
Father Joyalito Tajonera, a Filipino priest, stressed the importance of land-based accommodation in the wake of the Nanfangao Bridge (南方澳橋) collapse on Tuesday last week, which left six migrant fishers dead and 19 homeless when their boats were crushed.
“I hope that this incident will serve as a lesson for all of us, especially the Taiwan authorities and employers, that people [fishers] should not live on boats, because boats are a place of work and not a home,” he said.
Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet, a Vietnamese priest, said that the 19 homeless fishers lost all of their belongings, including their passports and savings.
The 19 have been placed in temporary onshore locations, with 16 Filipinos in one location and three Indonesians in another.
Tseng Yen-pu (曾彥博), a representative of Sang Yi International Co manpower agency, the broker for the fishers, said two of the fishers are going back to the Philippines, three wish to continue working in Taiwan, while the majority wish to transfer to factory jobs.
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