Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Kaohsiung Harbor 1980s Photos?

A reader passed along this problem.....


My father served on the USS Pictor (AF-54) during the Korean War. He passed away on June 1, 2007 and I put together, with the help of my son Jordan, a web site about the ship he served on.

The USS Pictor (AF-54) was completely scrapped on June 16, 1987 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan according to the Release of Contract and Surety letter from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

I am trying to obtain photos taken during the 1980s of Tajenkung Pier in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where the USS Pictor was scrapped. Any information regarding Tajenkung Pier, and the ship scrapping business in Kaohsiung, during the mid to late 1980s, would be most appreciated. I would like to add the information to the USS Pictor web site.


Michael Sepal

...which stimulated a post...

Shipbreaking in Taiwan peaked in the 1980s, when there were over 200 companies operating in Kaohsiung Harbor alone, at that time a world center for the industry. By 1988 this industry had basically passed its prime and the city phased it out:
In 1982, 65 percent of all the ships scrapped in the world came to their end in Taiwan. In 1986, ocean-going vessels totaling 3.69 million tons either sailed or were towed into Taiwan's "Old Ship Demolition Engineering Industry" wharves in Kaohsiung Harbor to be put to the cutting torch, a record year for the industry.

Many steel manufacturing plants, such as Tungho, Haikwang, Chuntai and Lungching, got into the act by renting piers and other space from the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, and began reaping big profits since 1965. The plates salvaged from the dismantled ships have been a vital source of cheap scrap metal for the ROC's steel mills, with about 30 percent of the island's domestic steel depending on the supply.

Things started turning sour for the southern port industry last year, however, when a scuttled oil tanker, the Canari, exploded in the harbor, killing 14 workers, injuring scores more and showering the city with red-hot chunks of steel.

Residents stayed close to the explosion and environmentalists began to take notice of the noise, pollution and potential danger of the operations at 24 of Kaohsiung's 37 shipbreaking wharves, and began calling the shipbreakers a "garbage industry" that was endangering and lowering the quality of life in the island port area.

That interesting article from 1988, more than twenty years ago, observes that Kaohsiung phased out the industry in order to expand its port facilities in the hope of overtaking Hong Kong by 1997, and that even then, industries were observed to be relocating away from Taiwan (this old article also tells the story of the transition away from shipbreaking).

A Google image search turns up a smattering of pics. Help?


scx said...

Reading this article it reminds me of the work hazard in Taiwan, Kaohsiung. Late 2007 I was here on behalf of my comapany Van Oord to repair our dredger. Coming from Singapore our Safety records can't beat any standard set by the EU or Down Under but it is as close as it can get. Since it was my first time here I thought Taiwan should have obtained an international safety standard but it turn out that the safety standards was almost a close match with India. Contract workers that came onboard had no proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Guys were chewing betelnut and smoking while carrying out their task. During dinner they would drink 'Kao Liang' and came back to cont. their work. Being a Superintendent myself I had to stop these act. I filed a complain to the shipyard but in next couple of days later, the same act came back. I finally gave up and let them proceed as we were in tight schedule.

It was a sad tragedy last year but I do hope they learn their lesson and try to put their safety act in action.

From my view, Safety is the bussiess problem currenty Taiwan is facing, from traffic to industry. Someone need to enforce these standards.

reeb said...

It's difficult to find Taiwan pics from the 50s-80s. I think they are all locked up in the basement of the KMTHQ next to the 228 records, opium receipts and Chocolate pics.

I took a look at the GIO site, But only came up with two images:

USNKtown pic

USN Hualien pic

Anonymous said...

Yes, safety is just not part of the culture here. Many foreigners have tried to change things....without success.


Anonymous said...

Also looking for scrapping operations at Kaohsiung. The S.S. SANTA ADELA was scrapped in 1970. Looking for data, photos or maps of the areas.


Theron Snell said...

Still looking for data at Kaohsiung for 1970, specifically the scrapping of the SS SANTA ADELA. Need photos, data.