Macao Dragon runs out of steam

MACAO Dragon, which runs regular scheduled ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau, has abruptly revealed liquidation of its assets and termination of all services from yesterday.

Having just celebrated its first anniversary in July, the ferry services company has ceased operations of its 10 daily sailings between Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and Taipa, using two 1,152-pax vessels.

Macao Dragon in a press statement blamed its collapse on the Macau government having capped its passenger capacity to 600-750 pax per trip. By late August, Macao Dragon owed Macau’s Marine Administration about HK$1.8 million (US$231,000) in passenger embarkation and docking fees.

An agent who declined to be named said: “It’s hard to survive by filling up the ship by half. I used it for MICE groups as various decks provide privacy.”

The Maritime Administration defended the restrictions, explaining that its hand was forced by the maximum capacity of Taipa Ferry Terminal.

Meanwhile, the authority has activated a contingency plan and requested other ferry companies to make up for the shortfall in capacity if necessary.

China Travel Service (Hong Kong), general manager of sales for Hongkong and Macau, Ng Hi-on said the impact of the service stop would be minimal. “We don’t use Macao Dragon as it has limited frequency and there are no night sailings,” he said. “Its low fare strategy does have market potential, but only a small segment.”

Ng added: “I don’t think there will be any access problems as Turbojet (another ferry operator) departs every 15 minutes and seats are always available.”

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