Maintenance workers go all out to repair ships as busy spring fishing season approaches

(People's Daily Online) 17:29, March 22, 2022

Photo shows a ship maintenance worker repairing a ship. (Photo/Li Fuzheng)

As the spring fishing season approaches, vessel maintenance workers are busy repairing the ships of fishermen to make sure they can have a safe fishing voyage at sea during the busy fishing season.

Heiyanzi township in Tangshan city of north China’s Hebei Province sits to the north of the Bohai Sea. Nearly 800 families among the township’s total 6,441 families are engaged in the fishing industry, and a large number of wooden vessels are still widely used to catch fish out at sea.

Photo shows ship maintenance workers repairing a ship. (Photo/Li Fuzheng)

“After travelling for a long time, the ships will inevitably suffer different degrees of damage, and the fishermen will send their ships to us for inspections and maintenance once a year, and for major maintenance every two years,” said Zhou Shaoquan, who runs a vessel maintenance workshop in the locality.

Ship maintenance and repair work are an important part of fishing culture, which enjoys a history of more than 600 years in the locality. To repair a wooden ship, or to mainly just prevent the ship from suffering water leakages, while further reinforcing the ship, the maintenance workers will use materials such as putty, hemp threads, and tung oil, as well as tools such as a chisel and a hammer, among others.

Gao Rongsheng, now 59 years old, has been engaged in the trade for more than 30 years. According to the man, it takes nine steps to repair and reinforce a ship, and one has to be very careful with each step because if not, the ship will likely suffer from water leakages when it is out at sea.

“Repairing wooden ships is a craft that requires technical abilities and energy, as well as a sense of responsibility from maintenance workers. The ships are the assets of the fishermen and they guarantee a safe voyage for the fishermen on the seas. Therefore, we must work very carefully, and our work allows for no mistakes,” said Gao.

Zhou introduced that currently there are more than 20 ship maintenance workers based in the locality, while throughout a given year there are as many as 270 ships in need of maintenance. “Most of the maintenance workers are older than 60 years old, while young people are not interested in the trade,” Zhou said.

Ships are about to set sail for the high seas after undergoing repairs. (Photo/Liu Yang)

“Every time when I came here to claim my ship, the maintenance workers told me that they would soon retire, but whenever there was a ship in need of maintenance the next time, they were always there, ready to help,” said a local fisherman. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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