Taipei, May 29 (CNA) About 140 passengers, including Tainan's elected officials and public servants, boarded a ferry boat at the southern city's Anping Harbor on its maiden voyage to Dongji islet in Penghu County on Saturday morning.
The islet, with a size of some 1.5 square kilometers, is located in the southern part of the offshore Penghu County, about 40 kilometers from Tainan in southern Taiwan.
Penghu County Deputy Magistrate Lin Chieh-hsing (林皆興) and County Council Speaker Liu Chen Chao-ling (劉陳昭玲) were on Dongji islet to welcome the passengers from Tainan.
Hailing the maiden voyage as a landmark, Lin said he hoped Dongji islet and other islets of the Southern Penghu Four Islets National Park will become a tourism attraction and regain their old splendor.
The other islets are Xiji, Dongyuping and Xiyuping islets. The national park, set up in June, 2014, has a land mass of nearly 4 square km and a water area of some 355 square km, about 1.3 times the size of Taipei City.
Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said more than 20,000 citizens of Tainan are immigrants from Dongji and their descendants, accounting for 1.1 percent of Tainan's 1.89 million population.
Lai said Dongji is a beautiful islet and he's glad to take Dongji as a platform for cooperation between Penghu and Tainan, helping Dongji immigrants to easily travel to and from Tainan and promoting Penghu's tourism.
The ferry boat "Tung Chi Fu Chi" (東吉福氣) currently serves the Tainan-Dongji line every Wednesday and Saturday. The travel time between Anping Harbor and Dongji is about two hours.
About 70 people live on the islet, nearly 50 of whom are public servants. There were more than 3,000 inhabitants on the islet during its peak, prosperous time.
There are two ferry services every week between Dongji and Wang'an Island on Tuesday and Friday.
A daily ferry service runs from Magong Harbor, the Penghu County seat, through Wang'an Island to Qimei Island in southern Penghu.