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Keelung launches Maritime Day celebrations

2012/07/12 11:25:56

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Keelung City in northern Taiwan launched a series of Maritime Day celebrations Wednesday to boost tourism in the coastal city, the organizers said that day.

The annual festival, to run until July 15, includes pop concerts, theater performances and an exhibition of local food specialties, as well as tours of cruise liners and a naval vessel.

On the evening of the second day, children’s theater troupe Just Apple will perform a musical about pollution of the ocean to raise public awareness about protection of the marine environment.

As many as 1,000 people are also expected to participate in a beer-toasting event July 14.

In related news, the historic wooden sailing boat “Free China,” which left Keelung in April 1955 on a rare cross-Pacific voyage, was also unveiled in the city July 11 to coincide with Taiwan’s Maritime Day, of which the Chinese junk was the inspiration.

After the junk, carrying one American and five Taiwanese crew members, made it across the Pacific to San Francisco in August 1955, people in Taiwan's maritime sector appealed to the government to designate July 11 as the country’s Maritime Day.

July 11 was the day the Zheng He, known as one of China’s greatest Maritime explorers, was ordered to lead a large fleet of Chinese ships on a voyage to the western seas.

The “Free China”is currently being exhibited outdoors next to the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Keelung.

(By Christie Chen)