Company execs get suspended sentences for fatal boat accident in HCMC

By Ky Hoa   November 27, 2018 | 10:14 am GMT+7
Company execs get suspended sentences for fatal boat accident in HCMC
Vu Van Dao (L) and Dinh Van Quyet appear in court in HCMC Monday for their responsibility in a fatal boat accident in 2013. Photo by VnExpress/Ky Hoa

A HCMC court Monday found two former company directors responsible for a 2013 boat accident that killed nine people.

Vu Van Dao, 48, and Dinh Van Quyet, 36, former directors of Viet Sec Technology JSC. and Vung Tau Marina JSC. respectively, were given three-year suspended sentences for "allowing the use of unsafe waterborne vehicles."

Despite the serious consequence of the defendants' crime, they were given suspended sentences because of multiple mitigating factors, including good background, active cooperation with authorities and proactive compensation provided to the victims' families, the court said.

According to the indictment, Dao's company produced boats made of polypropylene carbonate (PPC) despite Vietnam not having any standard for the design and registration of such vehicles.

In March 2013, his company signed contracts to sell two boats to the coast guard of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, including boat BP 12-04-02. The boats were anchored at the company's dock, however.

In late July that year, a steel pipe factory under oil giant PetroVietnam's subsidiary PV PIPE in the southern Tien Giang Province organized a trip to the Dao Xanh tourism area for its employees.

The manager of the tourism area, Vung Tau Marina, contacted Quyet for assisetance in arranging the trip.

On August 2, under Dao's instructions, the two boats his company had previously sold to the Ba Ria-Vung Tau coast guards were mobilized to ferry PV PIPE employees from Tien Giang to Vung Tau.

However, boat BP 12-04-02 sank off the coast of Ho Chi Minh City's Can Gio District at around 7 p.m. while carrying 28 people, more than 2.5 times its capacity, resulting in nine deaths.

Investigators found that Dao had instructed the use of the two boats despite knowing that they had a capacity of just 12 people and were only designed for patrol missions on rivers and bays. Furthermore, he allowed the boats to be in operation without registering the journey with the authorities, which resulted in rescue efforts being delayed.

Quyet, meanwhile, was seen as Dao's accomplice, because he had directly assigned the sunk boat's helmsman Phuc for the job.

Phuc, who was steering the boat BP 12-04-02 at the time of the accident, was among the dead, so he was not prosecuted in the case.

While the accident occurred in 2013, prosecutors' attempts to bring the case to court had been delayed multiple times for maritime authorities to conduct inspections into whether the boat BP 12-04-02 met safety standards at the time of the accident.

Speaking at the trial on Monday, Quyet admitted that he had committed violations, but pleaded that they were not serious enough to constitute the charge he was accused of.

"Accident is something no one wants, but the indictment accused me of deliberately [causing it]. I hope the panel will consider declaring me innocent," he said.

Dao also disagreed with the indictment, claiming the way it interpreted the case pushed the crime onto him. "BP 12-04-02 is the property of the border guards so only they have the power to mobilize the boat," he said.

He therefore asked prosecutors to withdraw the indictment and the court to suspend the case to avoid him being wrongfully convicted.

The court dismissed these claims and concluded that there was enough evidence to prove that the boat in the accident did not meet safety standards for transporting passengers.

"It is the defendants' overconfidence and lack of respect for waterway traffic safety regulations that inadvertently killed nine people, causing especially serious consequences," the verdict said.

 
 
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