THE ROMANCE OF THE SEA

Ship-building in Hong Kong

Hong Kong once had a thriving shipbuilding industry. Scattered over Junk Bay (now Tseung Kwan O), Tsing Yi, Aberdeen and as far as Cheung Chau and Lantau island, dozens of shipyards produced traditional Chinese  wooden crafts, The largest of them all, the famous Whampoa, operated several shipyards across the colony, dedicated to repairing passing freighters and passenger ships as well as building  western-style vessels such as Wayfoong (Aberdeen, 1930)The advent of fiberglass did not put a sudden end to wooden boat construction as it did  in Europe and North America. The doom of Hong Kong’s wooden ships came twenty years later, in the late nineties, when Mainland shipyards started producing fiberglass vessels at a fraction of the cost, notably in Zhuhai. Nowadays, Hong Kong’s shrinking wooden fleet is maintained by a handful of shipyards in Shum Wan and Ap Lei Chau, such as the famous Sun Hing Shing, the builders of Man Wah.

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