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First high-speed ship to Taiwan sails out of Pingtan

[ 2011-12-01 16:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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After an ear-splitting sound of firecrackers shattered the early silence at Pingtan Island in East China's Fujian province on Wednesday, Haixia sailed out of the new Aoqian wharf on its maiden voyage to Taiwan at 10 am, which marked the opening of a new sea route across the Taiwan Straits.

Feng Zhenwei, a 66-year-old passenger from Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, stood on the deck, waving goodbye to the cheering crowds on the shore before the whistle blew.

"I've waited for more than half a century to visit the other side of the Straits. Now the new route brings Taiwan so close to my home," said the retired teacher, who was on his first trip to Taiwan.

Feng was among the 550 passengers on Wednesday's trip. After riding the waves for three hours, the ship arrived at the harbor of Taichung, a city on the west coast of central Taiwan, where Feng and his wife would start a 6-day journey on the island. They will return on the same ship.

The vessel, painted blue and white, is 97 meters long and weighs about 6.5 thousand tons. It has 4 decks that can carry 760 passengers and 260 cars. The boat is China's fastest cargo-passenger liner, which was bought from Canada for 300 million yuan ($47 million).

"The ferry feels like a high-speed train racing on the sea," said Ye Huatao, general manager of the Fujian Cross Straits Ferry Corp, a mainland-Taiwan joint venture company that runs the ship.

According to Ye, the average speed of the ship is 65 kilometers per hour, twice that of a regular ship.

Previously, mainland tourists wanting to travel across the Straits by sea could depart only from Xiamen and would have to travel more than 14 hours.

The ticket price ranges from less than $100 to $200, which is a big incentive for travelers, the amount being lower than an air ticket.

"The fast ship is very attractive," said Lee Kaikuo, a Taiwan cosmetic dermatologist who has flown frequently between the island and Fujian.

Unlike airplanes, the ship provides free wireless network service and access to telephone signals throughout the journey, which has been hailed by travelers like Lee.

The main passenger deck has a cafe, gift shop, children's play area and lounges, and is equipped with entertainment facilities such as slot machines.

Chen Yangbiao, vice-director of the Fujian provincial tourism bureau, said the ship will also boost tourism in the future.

Pingtan Island is the mainland's closest point to Taiwan.

Du Yuansheng, a high-level government official in Pingtan, said the government was hoping to buy or charter three to four similar ships and open more routes to link Pingtan and coastal cities in Taiwan.


1. What is the name of the first passenger ship traveling between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan?

2. How many people sailed on its maiden voyage to Taiwan?

3. How long was the trip?


1. Haixia.

2. 550 passengers.

3. Three hours to the harbor of Taichung.

(中国日报网英语点津 Rosy 编辑)

First high-speed ship to Taiwan sails out of Pingtan

About the broadcaster:

First high-speed ship to Taiwan sails out of Pingtan

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the US, including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.