Fire erupts again on cruise ship in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay

By VnExpress   March 6, 2017 | 04:58 pm GMT+7
Fire erupts again on cruise ship in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay
A wooden tour boat caught on fire on May 6 in Ha Long Bay, forcing about 40 passengers to jump in the water and swim to the shore. Photo by VnExpress

The fire extends a series of similar incidents in the bay in the past year.

A tour ship went on fire on Monday night in Vietnam’s scenic Ha Long Bay, forcing two guards to leave the ship but they were safe.

The fire broke out in the cabin at midnight when the wooden boat was docking at the Tuan Chau International Port, but the two crew members managed to escape.

It was built in 2008 and capable of carrying 48 passengers.

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. Many fires have been reported on tourist ships in the past year, even after officials have stepped up inspection.

Last month an anchored cruise ship went on fire while it was waiting for seven tourists, including five foreigners, who had just left for kayaking, local media reported.

In January, 14 foreigners, their guide and six crew members were rescued after their cruise ship went on fire as it was returning to the port after a night trip.

Authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh have announced plans to replace all the wooden boats and ships, which are highly flammable, by metal vessels over the next five years.

Last year they also considered banning cruise ships from staying overnight on waters in both Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for safety reasons.

Quang Ninh received 8.3 million visitors last year, up 7 percent from 2015, including 3.5 million foreigners, according to official data. Most of foreign tourists often go on a daytime trip or stay overnight aboard a ship in the bay.

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