Patriotism helps the caretakers of South China Sea navigation buoys endure loneliness and danger

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/2 17:53:40 Last Updated: 2018/9/3 17:04:27

Caretakers of South China Sea navigation buoys in Yongxing Island make preparations for a patrol out in the sea on August 5 in Sansha, South China's Hainan Province. Photo: VCG

Before starting his job taking care of the navigation beacons on Yongxing Island of Sansha, 25-year-old Lu Yuanming imaged the place as an attractive spot like Maldives. But his life of working and living in China's southernmost region is not what he had imagined at all.

Sansha is a prefecture-level city in South China's Hainan Province. It was officially established in 2012 to administer the Xisha Isalnds, Zhongsha Islands and Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea. The city's administrative base is on Yongxing, one of the Xisha Islands.

Sansha is far away from the mainland with limited materials and an undeveloped infrastructure.

Life is not easy for Lu and his colleagues.

They need to sleep in a small room, eat simple dishes and tolerate a humid environment and high temperatures on the island.

"I was excited when I first come to the island but one week later, I did not want to be here anymore," Lu said.

Lu and his colleagues' job is to manage the lighthouses and navigation buoys to ensure boats and ships avoid danger and stay on the right course.

It would appear that the job is easy and tedious, but sometimes it can also be dangerous.

Ling Xiong, 29, and his colleagues went with a boat to an island in the South China Sea to change some parts on a beacon in March 2017, but they were stopped by storms. The parts had to be changed at this time, or else the beacon could go dark and place ships in danger.

Finally, a 12-member team on a military boat went to the island amid higher and higher waves. They accomplished the mission and went back safely. An official from the Ministry of Transport, who witnessed the incident, said that these men "are lighting the South China Sea at the risk of their own lives!"

Xi Shifu, who also works in Sansha said, "Sometimes, I just wonder why I am here and live my life in this way?"

He continued,"But if everyone refuses to do the job and never comes to the island, who would be here to safeguard this place? Compared to soldiers who are stationed at the border for our country… we already live a happy life now."

Two beacons stand on Yongxing Island. Caretakers of the navigation buoys are responsible for safeguarding them. Photo: VCG

Lu Yuanming (left) and his colleagues examine buoys on August 5. The buoys, which float on the sea, have limited space for its caretakers to stand on it and every examination would lead to dizziness for the caretakers. Photo: VCG

Lu (right) and his colleagues landed on the Nanshazhou Island to examine the beacons on August 5. They had to hide from the burning of the sun in the shadow of the beacon. Photo: VCG

Caretakers of the beacons have dinner in a local restaurant. They sometimes go to local restaurants as their own canteen always offers simple dishes. Photo: VCG

Lu cleans the glass at the top of a beacon on August 5. The inside part of the beacon is stuffy and Lu and his colleagues need to examine the beacon and clean the glass every week. Photo: VCG






Newspaper headline: Beacon of patriotism

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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