A Ukrainian family touring Asia on a sailboat has found safe harbor in Taichung

Taichung, Nov. 29 (CNA) A Ukrainian family whose sailboat broke down in the Taiwan Strait has been staying at Wuqi Fishing Port in Taichung for the past week, with the help of Taiwan’s coast guard and immigration authorities, awaiting repairs.

According to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), a Malaysian-flagged sailing boat carrying a family of three requested permission to enter the port at around 6:30pm on November 22.

Asked why, the Coast Guard said the ship’s pilot said the boat’s rudder was in trouble and wanted to stop for inspection and repairs.

The family was initially granted 7-day visitor permits, but immigration officials arranged for them to be extended as they would expire while the boat was being repaired, the CGA said.

In an interview with CNA on Wednesday, the 41-year-old father of the family, who asked to be identified by his first name, Valerie, said he and his wife and 13-year-old son traveled around Asia by boat. The beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Valery, an electrical engineer from Lviv, said his family had traveled to countries including Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, usually cycling around after reaching their destination.

On the most recent leg of their trip, the family left Dongyong-si in South Korea en route to the Philippines, but stopped in Keelung due to high tides, which left her son with severe motion sickness.

From Keelung, they continued south through the Taiwan Strait, but had to stop again in Taichung because their boat had problems with its rudder, Valerie said.

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Since arriving at the dock in Taichung, the family has spent nights on their boat but has gone ashore every day to stock up on supplies, Valerie said, adding that the people she met were all very friendly and helpful.

Although the family currently has a 30-day entry permit, they plan to continue their journey once repairs are completed, he said.

(By Tsai Li-Yen and Matthew Mazetta)

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