‘There Is No God Here’: An Excerpt From Life on Taiwan’s High Seas Vessels

‘If all the fishermen were Taiwanese, would the conditions be any different? This a question I have thought about for a very long time.’

The News Lens
Date: 2018/11/28
By: Li A-ming

Credit: Li A-ming / Times Publishing


Taking a shower is not easy for a migrant fisherman.

Fishing ports usually only have around two showers. At dusk, after a spending a day working up a sweat on board, you will always see a long snaking line of fishermen waiting to rid themselves of the smell of fish. Unfortunately, all showers are located at opposite ends of the fishing port. No matter where your ship docks, you still must walk a bit of a distance in order to get to the showers.

Credit: Li A-ming / Times Publishing
When fishing boats are docked at replenishment terminals, migrant fishermen will illegally steal fresh water and get on deck to wash off. Water hydrants on land are all equipped with an iron frame lock, which can be unlocked during the day so that fishing boats can replenish their fresh water, but they must be locked again afterwards. However, migrant fishermen know the tricks to secretly pick the locks and access the endless water supply. The water is cheap anyway, and the ports don’t care too much.

During the summer, when the rain begins to pour, migrant fishermen solve their shower problems by lathering up under streams of rain water from the cabin roof. This saves them trekking through the rain, waiting for the showers, and then trudging back through the rain again afterwards. These ingenious fishermen even use bottled water to rinse their teeth out when brushing, causing their companies to curse them.    [FULL  STORY]

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