Authorities in Quang Ninh Province has ordered a comprehensive inspection of all tourist boats on Ha Long and Bai Tu Long bays following a fierce fire on a high-end cruise ship on Friday.
Several hours after the fire, Nguyen Duc Long, chairman of Quang Ninh People’s Committee, ordered police to investigate the causes of the fire and clarify if the company operating the boat failed to meet safety standards, local media reported.
He ordered the suspension of other boats operated by the company, VIT Ha Long, and ordered the company to pay for damages caused by the fire.
He asked local authorities to inspect fire safety conditions of all tourist boats operating in Ha Long and Bai Tu Long bays, and report the results of inspection by the end of this month.
The inspection must focus on electricity devices, firefighting system and fire risks on the boats, he said.
“Boats that fail to meet fire safety requirements will be suspended from operation,” he said.
The cruise ship codenamed Aphrodite QN-6299 in Ha Long Bay was carrying 36 foreign tourists when it reportedly caught fire at around 11 a.m. on Friday.
The ship was approaching a port after spending the previous night cruising around the bay.
Many passengers were forced to jump into the water to avoid getting burned.
A speed boat was quickly sent over to rescue the tourists.
All 36 passengers and a Vietnamese guide were safe. Some suffered scratches and minor injuries. The tourists came from various countries, including France, South Korea and the UK.
The wooden ship, which was built in 2011, sank soon after the fire was put out at noon.
A source told Thanh Nien a gas leak in the kitchen might have caused the fire.