Da Nang dismisses officials following fatal tourist boat sinking

By Nguyen Tu, Thanh Nien News

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The Thao Van 2 tourist boat has been towed near the shore in Da Nang's Han River. Photo: Nguyen Tu The Thao Van 2 tourist boat has been towed near the shore in Da Nang's Han River. Photo: Nguyen Tu


Leaders of Da Nang have instructed the city transport department to dismiss responsible officials after three tourists died when a boat sank in Han River on June 4.
The officials include the director and vice director of Da Nang Inland Waterways Authority, the Da Nang Party Unit said Tuesday.
Two children and a man drowned after the Thao Van 2 tourist boat overturned on the Han River, between the Thuan Phuoc and Han River bridges, at about 8.30 p.m. on Jun. 4.
Police have launched a criminal investigation into the sinking. The boat's owner Vo Quoc Hung and pilot Le Cong Chi have been detained for questioning.
According to the police, the boat was not licensed to carry tourists.
The police considered overloading the primary cause of the sinking. The vessel, which was originally a fishing boat, had a capacity of only 28 passengers, but was carrying 56 people when it overturned.
The passengers were also not properly seated on deck, resulting in too many gathering on one side of the boat and causing it to capsize.
Following the tragedy, Da Nang authorities have suspended the operation of all tourism boats on the Han River.
They also suspended the issuing of license for tourist boats modified from fishing boats.
According to Da Nang’s leaders, the accident would not have happened had the Inland Waterways Authority fulfilled its duties.
Two days before the sinking, the police found the Thao Van 2 was operating without license and reported to the authority. However, the agency did not suspend the boat.
According to Da Nang waterway traffic police agency, more than 70 percent of tourist boats operating on the Han River were modified from fishing boats and cargo boats.
Following the accident, the Ministry of Transport has instructed provincial transport agencies around the country to keep a close eye on waterway traffic safety.
On Wednesday, authorities in the nearby Quang Nam Province suspended 5 unlicensed wharves.

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