Hai Phong tightens boat inspection after tourist complaint

VietNamNet Bridge – The northern city of Hai Phong’s People’s Committee has established an inter-sectoral inspection group to examine inland waterway vehicles, including tourist boats, operating in the city.

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People visit Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba Island District, northern province of Hai Phong. — VNA/VNS Photo


The move comes after a scandal reported by an Australian tourist in the middle of last month.

Nguyen Van Luyen, chief secretary of the office of the city’s Road Safety Committee, said inter-sectoral inspectors were expected to examine all inland waterway vessels and passenger boats in the city from May 29 to June 9.

“Vehicles that fail to meet operational requirements will be suspended,” he said.

According to the city’s Transport Department, there are 322 steel boats, 171 wooden boats, 55 aluminium boats and 19 fibre-reinforced plastic ships and boats operating in the city’s waters.

Of these, 15 are registered to operate on four fixed routes: Ben Binh-Cat Ba downtown station, Ben Got-Cai Vieng, Dinh Vu-Cai Vieng and Dinh Vu-Ben Got-Cai Vieng. Another 117 passenger boats are registered to offer contract-based services.

The Transport Department has asked the municipal People’s Committee to soon issue regulations to better manage tourist boats on bays of the Cat Ba Archipelago. The department has also asked for a plan on managing cruises with overnight stay at bays. The plan should clearly explain the administrative limitations and management responsibilities of tourist boats operating in the border area between Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh Province.

Vice chairman of Hai Phong City’s People’s Committee Le Khac Nam said if unqualified vessels were given a licence to operate, the relevant authorised agencies would be punished.

He also asked the province’s Tourism Department to strengthen inspection activities in Do Son and Cat Ba, two popular tourist attractions in the city.

“Violators will be strictly punished to avoid tarnishing the image of Hai Phong tourism,” he said.

Vu Thi Thom, head of the Cat Ba Tourism Ships Association, said local tourism ship operators were making efforts to improve their service quality and ensure traffic safety to attract tourists.

Last month, an Australian tourist reported about her “horrific” experience during a tour on Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province. She did not receive the services advertised for the tour, which turned out to be unlicensed. She and her friends were taken to Hai Phong to visit Cat Ba Island instead of Ha Long Bay. Also, contrary to the ads, the group was escorted on a junk boat named Hoang Phuong 16 with a dilapidated interior and received poor service.

After the report, the owner of the cruise ship was fined VND15 million (US$660). 

Source: VNS

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