12/06/2016 09:30 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

A "Boatyard" For Offshore Fishing

Quang Ngai, a province in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, consists of one city, four districts, and one island district. With more than 130km of coastline, and six large and small sea gates, the province has strongly developed fishing compared to other localities in the central region. Therefore, boat building has also risen, with many boatyards making big-capacity boats for offshore fishing.
We recently visited Sa Huynh Commune in Duc Pho District of Quang Ngai Province. From afar, we heard the sounds of power-saws, hammers, chisels and other machines, which are quite usual in the boatyard. Hundreds of workers were doing their jobs beside the boats, which sat in a large space nearby. We saw some newly-completed boats being polished which were waiting to be launched. Some boats were half-finished, yet still showed off their shape, while other boats were under maintenance.

Among the new boats, those built of wood made up the majority over those using other materials, because timber is easily processed, has good resistance and is easy to curve, at a low cost.

A boatyard of Sa Huynh fishermen in Duc Pho District, Quang Ngai Province.

Wooden planks assembled inside the boat are painted with many layers
to protect them against termites, wood-eaters and sea water erosion.

It takes an average of three months to build a wooden boat with 300-400CV capacity.

A boatyard in Nghia Phu Commune, Tu Nghia District. 30 new boats will be completed,
the smallest one having 400CV capacity, and the biggest one, over 800CV capacity.

Doing the maintenance on a huge screw of a 1,000CV-capacity fishingboat.

Boat making requires precise and thorough work in every detail.

The fishermen working at sea is seen as the "landmark" of the country's sovereignty over the East Sea.
They not only catch sea products for economic development, but also contribute to protect the Homeland's sea and islands.

Nearly 40,000 labourers in Quang Ngai province participate in the fishing business.
The province's total sea product output in 2015 was over 160,000tonnes, compared to 150,600tonnes in 2014.

Boats of Quang Ngai fishermen anchored in Tra Khuc Estuary.

Normally it takes three months to build a wooden boat with a capacity of 300-400CV using around 100m3 of wood, like kien (HopeapierreiHance), tau (Vatica) or tro chi (Parashoreachinensis Wang Hsie). To build force-and wave-resistant boats with durability, good timber is needed. They must be light, durable and less absorbent to water.

To assemble thick wood planks together or make them curve round the boat’s body, the workers have to press them through fire at a high temperature. They are then joined together by firm and jagged lines. After the boat’s frame and sides are completed, other parts are built, including the cargo and machine hold. The entire process of making a boat is strictly supervised by the foreman. Any detail, even a tiny one, which does not meet the technical norms, will be replaced by another standard one.

In 2015, thanks to favorable weather, and loans from the banks given to the fishermen to help them build new boats or buy modern fishing facilities, Quang Ngai Province had many new boats with a bigger capacity than the old ones. According to workers from Nghia Phu Boatyard in Nghia Phu Commune, Tu Nghia District, among the nearly 30 boats under construction at their boatyard, the smallest one had a capacity of 400CV, while the biggest one had over 800CV capacity.

Facing many difficulties and obstacles during their fishing trips offshore, however, Quang Ngai fishermen have tried their best to continue to fish in the traditional fishing spots, including the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands. Their presence on the sea is seen as a "landmark" of the country's sovereignty over the East Sea. To them, going fishing offshore is not simply to catch fish for economic development, but to protect the Homeland's sea and islands.

The number of Quang Ngai fishing boats to fish frequently in such areas as the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam's south-eastern and south-western regions makes up 35-40% of the province's total boats with a capacity of 20CV upward. About 900 boats go fishing offshore frequently in  Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands and the DK1 region, while the rest fish in the province's sea and nearby localities. About ​40,000 local people participate in the fishing business. The province's total output of sea products netted in 2015 was more than 160,000tonnes.

By Cong Dat