One of the Lai Chi Vun shipyards. The areas manufactured the last sailship more than a decade ago. Photo: facebook/@memorymacau

Macau government abruptly demolished two shipyards in the historic Lai Chi Vun area in Coloane, on Wednesday morning, despite opposition from its own Cultural Affairs Bureau.

Part of the shipyard structure had collapsed due to lack of maintenance and the government had to take action to ensure public safety, a statement posted online said in Portuguese, one of the city’s official languages.

The site will become a high quality space for tourists and citizens after redevelopment, the statement added. Meanwhile, four shipyards, out of a total of 18 in the area, applied for license renewal.

However, the demolition drew opposition from the president of the Cultural Affairs Bureau Leung Hio-ming on Tuesday. He reiterated that the Lai Chi Vun area had grave historical value.

The world’s largest casino hub decades ago hosted junk manufacturers in the southern part of the former Portuguese colony that accounted for around one-third of gross domestic product in 1958.

I-Hap shipyard in Lai Chi Vun area. Photo: Facebook/@memorymacau

Local media reported that pro-establishment lawmaker Kwan Tsui-hang criticized the government for not outlining a clear redevelopment plan before dismantling the heritage areas that would have benefited the citys tourism sector.