The People’s Committee of northern Quang Ninh Province’s Ha Long City has suspended operations of six tourist cruise boats in Ha Long and Bai Tu Long bays.
|Quang Ninh Province’s Ha Long Bay. Several incidents of tourist boat fires have been reported here in recent years, affecting its reputation. — VNA/VNS Photo|
The boats will no longer be used for sightseeing rides and overnight stays, the committee said.
Five of the six banned boats, coded Hung Long QN-1156, Hoa Phuong 02 QN-4239, White Dolphine QN-4894, Sunrise QN-2287 and Aphrodite 11 QN-6299, had been damaged by fire in the 2014-16 period.
The remaining one has been phased out under the provincial People’s Committee’s streamlining policy for ship crews.
There have been several boat fires in recent years, which have affected the province’s reputation among tourists. This decision is the province’s first step in regaining its position.
The latest incident took place on Sunday night, when the cabin of a wooden boat, coded Huy Loc QN 3883, burst into flames. It was the third fire since the beginning of this year.
This wooden boat would also stop operating, though it was not as damaged as the others, said Ho Quang Huy, vice-chairman of the People’s Committee of Ha Long City.
The committee has also decided to temporarily ban a boat, coded Hai Phong 08 QN-3006, which is operated by Hai Phong Company Limited, to investigate allegations about violation of rules on transporting tourists.
The company owns nine other boats, including four overnight cruisers and five tourist cruise boats, and their ownership is to be transferred to other firms.
Pham Hong Ha, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee and head of Ha Long Bay’s management board, said he suspected that a number of overnight cruisers were not paying fees for sightseeing and overnight stays on the bay. “We have started investigations,” he said. “Those found violating rules will be banned from operating boats.”