TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On a sizzling summer day, a group of Vietnamese migrant workers prepared to go offshore fishing in northern Taiwan.
The four, identified by their first names as Thanh, Dung, Thong, and Dong, are compatriots from Vietnam's northern coast of Ha Tinh. Through contracts with brokerage firms, they came to Taiwan a few years ago and started working together as fishermen on a boat owned by a Taiwanese middle-aged man.
The boat, which is docked at Fuji Fishing Port, is where the four live. Aside from fishing, they spent most of their time on the boat, including cooking, eating, sleeping, and showering.
The four migrant workers are having a meal together on the boat. Photo courtesy of Andy Ip Gia Thien
Dung, who is the youngest among the four, shared his working routines, which differ according to seasons. In summer, the crew begins sailing in the afternoon, around 4 or 5 p.m. and get back to the port in the early morning of the next day. And the maximum working days are around 20 per month.
Meanwhile, the working time is reversed in winter and the working hours are shorter with just only 10 days per month, due to the frigid weather condition, he told Taiwan News.
When asked who is in charge of driving the boat, Dung jokingly said: "The Taiwanese boss, of course, because he is afraid if he lets us take the wheels, we will navigate the ship directly back to Vietnam."
The boat starts to go offshore fishing. Photo courtesy of Andy Ip Gia Thien
Thanh, who looks robust with tanned skin and strong muscles, has come and gone for around 10 years. He explained the reason for him and other Vietnamese fellows to work abroad was because of the higher salary and better working conditions.
Though working in the fishing industry helped him make ends meet, he still preferred working onshore with similar pay. "The working conditions on land are definitely less risky and severe," he said.
Thanh and Dung on boat. Photo courtesy of Andy Ip Gia Thien
Vessels at Fuji Fishing Port. Photo courtesy of Andy Ip Gia Thien
All photos were taken by Andy Ip Gia Thien. He is Hongkong-based freelance photographer. With more than 10 years working on photography, Ip specializes in taking human photography, and photojournalist. Check out his Instagram page for more astonishing photos.