Vietnamese officials called for closer coordination between transport and tourism authorities on Wednesday in response to this year's spate of fatal tour boat accidents.
At an online conference on waterway tourism safety, officials from the Transport Ministry and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Vietnam lacks a sufficient legal structure for regulating waterway transport.
The transport sector admitted that it has not worked closely enough with the tourism sector to establish standards for tourist vessels.
The transport and tourism authorities also acknowledged that they had failed to cooperate with local governments to regularly inspect waterway vehicles in order to cull vessels that do not meet safety standards, they admitted.
Private operators have consistently exploited a loophole by converting fishing boats into tourist boats, they charged.
The two ministries agreed to establish a joint committee to take charge of waterway tourism inspections and establish municipal and provincial inspection teams across the country.
The officials advised the government to pass additioinal legislation to strengthen waterway safety.
In the future, tourism boat operators will be obliged to take part in training courses organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
An estimated 10,000 tourist boats and ships operate in 28 cities and provinces across the country, according to the ministry.