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Old 02-11-2017, 10:32 AM   #4021
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Still about iconic old ferries in public transportation, the Star Ferry in Hong Kong.

Star Ferry and the Peak Tram are the most characteristic and will-know tools of transportation in Hong Kong. Star Ferry, which has been operated for more than one century, is not only an important part of the cross-sea transportation system, but also the most popular and economic way to cruise the bay of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong :
Hong Kong consists of the island of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Island), Stonecutters' Island (now joined to the mainland), Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories on the adjoining mainland.

The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1841/42. Stonecutters' Island and Kowloon were annexed in 1860, and the New Territories, which are mainly agricultural lands, were leased from China in 1898 for 99 years.

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China. The vibrant capitalist enclave retains its status as a free port, with its laws to remain unchanged for 50 years. Its first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, formulated a policy agenda based on the concept of “one country, two systems,” thus preserving Hong Kong's economic independence. Hong Kong's economy is characterized by free trade, low taxation and minimum government intervention. It is the world's 9th largest trading economy, with the mainland of China as its most significant trading partner.

In total, there are about 234 outlying islands in the country, with the island of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Island) being the most famous and populated. Between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula lies Victoria Harbour, one of the world's most renowned deep-water harbours.

After the British gained the Kowloon Peninsula as part of the Hong Kong colony in 1860 for facilitating trade, the peninsula was rapidly developed. A number of industries such as shipbuilding, soy, and tanneries set up in different parts of the Kowloon Peninsula.

At the same time, many people have migrated and settled in the Kowloon Peninsula. Both the European Community and Chinese Community built up the Tsim Sha Tsui and Yaumati areas respectively. As the residents in Kowloon still needed to connect with the Colony center in the Victoria City on Hong Kong Island, it was necessary to have water transportation. In fact, there were already casual sampans and junks providing the communication between Hong Kong Island and owloon Peninsula in the 1860s.

The Ferry Service started with a Steam Launch :
The history of Star Ferry can be dated back to Qing Dynasty. Around 1880s, a Parsee merchant named Dorabjee Naorojee started a ferry service on Victoria Harbour. Dorabjee bought a boat from Grant Smith, a gentleman who returned to the colony from a trip to London with a new steam engine and installed it in a wooden boat to run a cross harbour ferry business in 1870 with an irregular service.

At the beginning, this ferry service was not a major business focus of Dorabjee who owned a bakery, mainly used the ferry to transport the bread from Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon Hotel on the Kowloon Peninsula.

He later bought two steam vessels called Morning Star and Evening Star, it was Dorabjee who started the tradition of naming the ships after stars in our galaxy. The service became popular and the fleet grew from two to four steam vessels in a decade. Dorabjee started Kowloon Ferry Company in 1888, the capacity of each vessel was 100 people and, on average, 147 trips were made every day. He incorporated his business into a formal company called the Star Ferry Company in 1898 before his retirement. Indeed in 1898, he retired and went to India after selling the ferry company to the Hong Kong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company Ltd. At this time the Star Ferry was the principal public transport between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon peninsula.

The fleet survived a devastating typhoon in 1906, and again in 1908.

After World War I, passenger service increased dramatically and larger Double-decker ferries were added in 1920. A second-class fare then included a seat, and ships were licensed to carry 555 persons.

Then later the company converted all the engines of the ferries from steam engine to diesel engines. The reasons to convert the engine were that there was a shortage of coal in the world which made the price of coal become very high. Moreover, as the diesel engine was much smaller than the steam engine; together with the cancellation of the storeroom for the coal, it helped to reduce the size of the engine room in the ferry which created more space for carrying more passengers. Furthermore, the using of diesel engine could reduce the running cost of the ferry as the cost of using diesel was only one third of using coal. The first diesel boats were launched in 1933.

At the beginning of World War II, Star Ferry offered service to refugees and troops in Kowloon Peninsula under the attack of Japan. By the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, the ferry company had attempted to disperse the fleet to avoid capture. The Electric Star and Northern Star were sunk at the Hong Kong Ice House ferry pier. The Japanese salvaged the ships and commandeered the rest of the fleet, using some of them on the rough run up the South China Sea. The Golden Star was chased by the Americans, who bombed it from the air, sinking the ship. Then most of the other ferries were grounded for 44 months.

The end of the war found the Star Ferry fleet in poor shape, and a rebuilding program was begun.
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:35 AM   #4022
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Now, the fleet of ferries is serving two ferry routes between Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon peninsula) and Central (Hong Kong Island business) in 10/15 minutes, Tsim Sha Tsui and Wanchai (commercial area on Hong Kong Island) in 20 minutes. The average daily passenger patronage at mid-2016 was about 54,000 (approx. 39,000 for the Central - Tsim Sha Tsui route and 15,000 for the Wan Chai - Tsim Sha Tsui route).

The ferries move at a strong 12 knots, but it seems faster because they sit so low in the water. Two huge black iron anchors rest on both ends of each hull, but they are more ceremonial than anything else. In the history of the ferry, none of the boats has ever anchored.

Part of the history of the Star Ferry is an excellent safety record. The only serious accidents occurred in 1937, when one Star struck another midships, and in 2016 when the “Silver Star” ferry arriving from Tsim Sha Tsui hit a wall while berthing at Wan Chai Ferry Pier. A Star Ferry spokesman said the vessel was carrying about 50 passengers to Wan Chai and “failed in reversing its propulsion, lost engine control and hit the pier wall, the cause of the incident is a broken gear pin."

Another part of the ferry's history is that the design of the double-ended ships remains almost exactly the way it was at the turn of the century.

But one of the most important and enduring aspect of the Star Ferry is the tradition of family service. It is not unusual to see grandfather, son and grandson serving on the same boat, each wearing the same, distinctive navy blue uniforms. Some family service records span four decades.

The Star Ferry is a favorite among the local people because it is affordable, convenient and quick. A ride on these ferries is a an absolute must. It is like taking a ride on a piece of history. The view is wonderful and some nice touches are also there, like the benches with movable backs which allow you to face the direction of the journey.

Since 2003, a custom-built ferry (double-decker "Shining Star" ferry) has been used for tours of Victoria Harbor. This ferry is a reproduction of a ferry of the 1920s and features a coffee house and a deck for sunbathing. It is very popular to enjoy a cup of coffee or just relax while feasting eyes on the sights of Victoria Harbor.

Fleet size : 8 ferries
Total fleet capacity : 4,123 persons
Average age of fleet (as at ended 2016) : 54 years

Number of passengers carried :
Annual total : 20.2 million persons
Daily average : 55,285 persons (2015/2016)

Total distance traveled :
Annual total : 140,528 nautical miles
Daily average : 385 nautical miles

The Star Ferry was listed into National Geographic's 50 Places of a Lifetime by National Geographic Traveler Magazine. And it has been rated first in the “Top 10 Most Exciting Ferry Rides” poll by the Society of American Travel Writers (“SATW”) in February 2009.
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:44 PM   #4023
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Thanks Pilou! What a great story. I've just added the Star Ferry to my bucket list.
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:50 PM   #4024
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Thanks Pilou! What a great story. I've just added the Star Ferry to my bucket list.
You are welcome Dave, thanks for your support.
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Old 02-11-2017, 08:45 PM   #4025
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Pilou - Excellent! Thank You!!
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #4026
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I remember it costing slightly more to ride the top deck of the Star ferry.
If you like the Star, you may appreciate the Manly ferries of Sydney. The early ones were mostly built in the UK and came to Australia under their own steam(literally). They served the 7 mile route from Circular Quay city terminal to Manly, a beach suburb with a harbour frontage."Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care" said the advertising.
Apart from one other in poor condition possibly being restored the survivor is the "South Steyne". Taken out of service after a fire, it passed through a number of would be restorers, was eventually blessed with restoration in Melbourne and later became a moored floating restaurant/function centre in Darling Harbour Sydney. It was recently for sale,and will be moved because of work being done in its location.
Many years ago, I was onboard it for a University Commemoration Day night cruise, during which the fire sprinklers were (ahem) activated, the Police called, the cruise abandoned and all passengers compulsorily disembarked under Police supervision.
Lacking IT skills I failed trying to post a batch of pics of this magnificent large seagoing ferry. If AndyG or Pilou, or anyone else is motivated, please do. Or just search "South Steyne ferry", you`ll get a good result.
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Old 02-12-2017, 06:07 AM   #4027
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Pilou - Excellent! Thank You!!
Thank you Art !

I do enjoy the Hong Kong Ferry rides very much, I have been often there. But one of my most prefered ferry rides is Golden Gate Ferry which serves Larkspur in your Marin County to the San Francisco Ferry Building, especially in the early morning before the automatic air conditionning system (I mean the fog ) is coming, pic attached. The one hour ride is great, as you know Larkspur Ferry Terminal is just walking distance from the Marriott Courtyard hotel. I like so much a breakfast - with the best French bread - at The Rustic Bakery on Larkspur Landing Circle.

I trust you know the final scenes of the 1971 movie Dirty Harry on the area of Larkspur Landing and at the adjacent East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.
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Old 02-12-2017, 06:21 AM   #4028
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I remember it costing slightly more to ride the top deck of the Star ferry.
If you like the Star, you may appreciate the Manly ferries of Sydney. The early ones were mostly built in the UK and came to Australia under their own steam(literally). They served the 7 mile route from Circular Quay city terminal to Manly, a beach suburb with a harbour frontage."Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care" said the advertising.
Apart from one other in poor condition possibly being restored the survivor is the "South Steyne". Taken out of service after a fire, it passed through a number of would be restorers, was eventually blessed with restoration in Melbourne and later became a moored floating restaurant/function centre in Darling Harbour Sydney. It was recently for sale,and will be moved because of work being done in its location.
Many years ago, I was onboard it for a University Commemoration Day night cruise, during which the fire sprinklers were (ahem) activated, the Police called, the cruise abandoned and all passengers compulsorily disembarked under Police supervision.
Lacking IT skills I failed trying to post a batch of pics of this magnificent large seagoing ferry. If AndyG or Pilou, or anyone else is motivated, please do. Or just search "South Steyne ferry", you`ll get a good result.
I have been twice in Sydney (many years ago) on my way to and from New Caledonia after I graduated from the University in France. I had a ride on South Steyne Ferry, a double-ended, double-screw ship, built in Scotland (if i remember well ?) delivered 12,000 miles to Sydney which is impressive. More constructed to ocean-going ship standards than Hong Kong Ferries.
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:16 AM   #4029
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Pilou, so glad you liked the South Steyne.
Built in Scotland she came to Australia from the UK via the Suez Canal in 1938. She was built by Henry Robb Ltd at Leith in Scotland, an oil fired steamer with triple expansion engines producing 3250 hp built by Harland and Wolff. Of 1203 tons,220 ft long,38ft beam, her props were 9ft 3" in diameter.
The Manly ferry route crosses the opening to the Pacific ocean between North and South Head, known as the Sydney Heads, so the ferries had to be seaworthy. The encountered a gale shortly before her arrival into Sydney. As well as serving as a route ferry, she did regular Sunday ocean trips 20 miles north of Sydney up the coast and back, I went along several times, she had a great motion as she encountered large coastal swells. She also carried spectators to see the Sydney Hobart race starts, and would follow the fleet out to sea and a short distance south as far as Botany Bay.She ceased service, in 1974, after a fire.
I have a book "Manly Ferries of Sydney Harbour" written and signed by author Tom Mead tracing the history of the Manly ferries. South Steyne, by far the most handsome with her magnificent sheer, figures prominently. Tom Mead calls her "The Greatest of Them All".
I suppose it will never happen, but it would be a great sight on Sydney Harbour for her to operate again, even as a tourist ferry. That she exists at all, unlike many ferries of her era, is a joy. She represents an important part of Sydney maritime history.
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:10 PM   #4030
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Thank you Bruce for very interesting informations about the South Steyne.
The delivery from Scotland to Sydney was unbelievable, what incredible sailors & amazing ship.
Yes, a second life even for tourist tours would be great, I'm fond of historic & classic vessels. I copied / pasted your post in a email to my Scottish friends.
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:45 PM   #4031
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The best custodians for South Steyne could be the Sydney Heritage Fleet.


"As listed in the SHF's website, the fleet is currently composed of the following ships:
Operational vessels

  • James Craig, an 1874 iron-hull 3-mast barque
  • Waratah, a 1902 steam tug
  • Lady Hopetoun, a 1902 VIP steam launch
  • Boomerang, a 1903 schooner
  • Protex, a 1908 inner-harbour motor launch
  • Harman, a 1947 ex-RAN harbour workboat/passenger motor boat
  • Berrima, a 1954 Botany Bay workboat/passenger motor boat
  • Kookaburra II, a 1950s wooden speed boat
Under restoration

An impressive collection of older vessels, many of which are money pits for restoration and maintenance. Several are operated from time to time as charter vessels to raise funds. Especially James Craig, Lady Hopetoun, and Waratah.
John Oxley and Kanangara have been "in restoration" for years, by the organization`s volunteers. I have a fine artists drawing print of the graceful Kanangara ferry, to which the artist has added a blue wash. Framed, it hangs in the lounge room.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:49 PM   #4032
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cool trawler

1997 75 Portier Shipyards For Sale In Beaufort Nc Us | Bluewater Yacht Sales
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:45 PM   #4033
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Neat conversion. 14,000 Gallons of fuel would get you most anywhere I'd imagine!
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:57 PM   #4034
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Greetings,
Radar Love was docked at AYB in Chesapeake VA a couple of years ago when I had some work done there. No nonsense indeed. LOVE the ER.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:17 PM   #4035
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Neat conversion. 14,000 Gallons of fuel would get you most anywhere I'd imagine!
Anywhere I do not know, but to bankruptcy I am sure about it
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:57 PM   #4036
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:01 PM   #4037
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Kinda reminds me why the Brits sold the old HMS Queen Elizabeth to the states.
She apparently got eight feet to the gallon! (and that was an imperial gallon!)
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:34 PM   #4038
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Houseboat, er, boathouse, I don't know, it's so confusing!

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Old 02-27-2017, 06:42 PM   #4039
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Let's see, I have to work on the engine room and transom.
I don't have a garage ........... I know! I'll just back it into the living room!
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:48 PM   #4040
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Kinda reminds me why the Brits sold the old HMS Queen Elizabeth to the states.
She apparently got eight feet to the gallon! (and that was an imperial gallon!)
So, roughly 2.5 mil gallons to cross Atlantic?
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