Editor’s Note: Bifengtang used to be a narrow strip of water where fishing boats took shelter to escape typhoons and a temporary resting place for people leading a wandering life.

Located close to the commercial center, the place saw more and more fishermen from remote areas settle in, attracted by the amenities of modern life. That is when the ships became their home and Bifengtang became a floating village in the port city of Zhanjiang.

The rapid development of the city has made spaces near the coastline come at a premium. Bifengtang’s disappearance was inevitable when a property developer planned to construct a Fisherman’s Wharf for yachting and leisure activities.

Some scenes will soon to be gone forever, but photographs taken by local photographer Liang Zhibing over a timespan of more than a dozen of years, documented them with sincerity.

  • An elderly man climbs ashore in October 2005. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • A ferrywoman at leisure weaves a handbag in July 2006. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • Ferry boats collide with one another in September 2007, but it doesn’t affect any friendship. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • Children huddle together, talking to kill time in August 2008. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • A ferryman eats his dinner on his boat on a hot summer day in 2009. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • The cornerstone is laid for the Fisherman’s Wharf in October 2010. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • An elderly ferrywoman on her boat waits for customers in September 2011. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • A ferryman stands at the front of the boat in August 2012, facing the high-rises in the burgeoning city. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • A youngster disembarks in December 2013. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • An iron fence separates the Bifengtang from the city in March 2014. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]

  • The Fisherman’s Wharf begins construction in June 2017. [Photo provided by Liang Zhibing to chinadaily.com.cn]