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Ukrainian family gets visa extension for boat repairs in central Taiwan

Family of 3 given 1-month visa to complete rudder repair at Taichung’s Wuqi Fishing Harbor

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Ukranian family makes emergency stop to repair sailboat. (CNA photo)

Ukranian family makes emergency stop to repair sailboat. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Ukrainian family of three sailed into Taichung’s Wuqi Fishing Port with a request for emergency docking to repair a faulty rudder, which could not be completed by the time their seven-day visa expired, requiring extended stay assistance from Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency.

The Coast Guard received notification on Wednesday (Nov. 22) that a Malaysian-flagged sailboat had applied to enter the port. Permission was granted to the sailboat despite the fact that its small size made it unsuitable for docking in a commercial harbor, per NOWnews.

The captain of the boat, a 41-year-old Ukrainian who prefers to go by his given name, Valeriy, said he had sailed out of South Korea’s Port of Tongyeong with the intention of sailing to the Philippines to purchase repair parts. However, strong wind and waves made travel difficult, and his son battled a bout of seasickness.

This led the family to temporarily dock in Keelung for a rest. Later, when attempting to pass through the Taiwan Strait, the sailboat broke down and had to make an emergency docking at Wuqi Fishing Port.

Valeriy is an electronic engineer born in Lviv, Ukraine, who began pursuing his passion for sailing five years ago. With the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, he took to the seas once again, returning to Ukraine to pick up his 40-year-old wife and 13-year-old son on a trip to Asian countries.

So far, the family has visited Yemen, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries. Their sailboat carries two bicycles, allowing the family to explore territory around the harbors wherever they dock.

The National Immigration Agency was willing to extend the family’s visa for a total of one month. Despite being given the opportunity to extend their stay, Valeriy says that as soon as repairs are completed on the sailboat, his family will continue with their travels.