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14 foreign tourists rescued from Ha Long cruise ship blaze

By Minh Cuong   January 10, 2017 | 11:16 am GMT+7
14 foreign tourists rescued from Ha Long cruise ship blaze
The cruise ship is on fire in Ha Long Bay on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Quang Ninh Newspaper

The boat sank quickly after flames tore through it on Tuesday morning, once again raising safety questions in one of Vietnam's top destinations.

A cruise ship carrying 14 foreigners on Ha Long Bay went on fire before it sank on Tuesday morning.

The ship was returning from a night trip at around 6:30 a.m. when flames spread quickly and engulfed most of  the vessel.

Rescue workers at a local port managed to bring all 14 foreign tourists, their guide and six crew members to another boat before their ship sank.

Local authorities are investigating the incident.

Fire safety has long been a concern among tourists on cruise trips in Ha Long Bay, a world-renowned destination and beloved by many foreigners. Incidents like this keep happening, even after officials have stepped up inspection.

Authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh have announced plans to replace all the wooden boats and ships with metal vessels in the next five years.

Last year they also considered a ban on overnight trips for safety reason but did not make a decision.

Quang Ninh received 8.3 million visitors last year, up 7 percent from 2015, according to official data. Of those visitors, there were 3.5 million foreigners and most of them, if not all, probably visited Ha Long Bay. 

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