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May 29, 2017

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Rough seas leave 500 travelers stranded in Chiayi

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- About 500 travelers hoping to reach Magong (馬公) via a ferry route departing from Chiayi County's Port of Budai (布袋港) were stranded due to rough conditions at sea yesterday morning.

Stranded travelers gathered at the Budai Visitors' Center hoping to wait out the inclement weather voiced their complaints over the delay.

A women surnamed Lin (林), visiting from Miaoli County, stated that their group of 11 family members had spent NT$6,000 to charter a bus to transport them to the Port of Budai and their travel agent did not inform them of the disruption until 9:00 a.m. Lin wondered who would be responsible for reimbursing the NT$12,000 for the round-trip chartered excursion.

A man surnamed Chao (趙) from Taichung City stated that he had departed for the Port of Budai at 7:00 a.m. to catch the ferry on his way to a three-day, two-night stay in Penghu. Chao stated that he was quite stunned when port authorities suddenly announced the cancellation of their ferry route.

Su Cher-wei (蘇哲維), an assistant manager at the Budai branch of the Port of Kaohsiung Taiwan International Ports Corporation (高雄港務分公司布袋管理處) stated that the halt in the Budai-Magong ferry route, known as the "blue freeway" was the result of a sudden shift in sea conditions early yesterday morning. The decision was necessary to ensure the safety of our passengers, said Su, adding that all travelers had vacated the port's waiting room after the company issued an apology, while denying allegations that protests had ensued over the cancellation of the ferry.

In light of the recent Penghu plane crash, another traveler from Banquiao surnamed Lin (林) commended the port authority's prioritization of passenger safety.

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