20 cruise ships suspended in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay

By Minh Cuong   August 7, 2018 | 07:50 pm GMT+7
20 cruise ships suspended in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay
Cruise ships in Ha Long Bay. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong
A failure to follow fire safety protocols has seen 20 cruise ships suspended from operating in two popular bays.

The administration of Ha Long resort town in Quang Ninh Province, home to Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, said the 20 ships have yet to install thermal sensors and smoke detectors for the engine rooms as they’d been directed to earlier.

The ships will be suspended from Wednesday onwards till they are allowed to sail again, the adminintration said in a letter sent to the Quang Ninh Inland Port Authority.

Cruise ships operating in Ha Long and Bai Tu Long bays were required to have a CCTV camera system that has a screen placed inside the cockpit by June 25; and portable fire extinguishers, a thermal sensor and smoke detector for the engine room by August 5.

Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994, is one of Vietnam's biggest tourism magnets where an overnight cruise trip is a “must-try” travel experience in Asia according to Business Insider. Its lesser-known neighbor, Bai Tu Long, is described to be the place to avoid the crowd by U.K. travel publisher Rough Guides.

The bays helped Quang Ninh welcome 7.5 million visitors in the first half of this year, up 26 percent against the same period last year, including 2.4 million foreigners, up 14 percent.

Yet fire safety has long been a concern among tourists cruising the bays. Boat fire incidents have been reported often, including at least three between January-March of 2017.

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