All hydrofoils on HCM City - Vung Tau waterway suspended

VietNamNet Bridge - After a hydrofoil carrying more than 90 people caught fire on the Saigon River, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has decided to suspend the operation of all hydrofoils running on the HCM City-Vung Tau route for inspection.

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hydrofoil, hcm city-vung tay, waterway, accidents

A hydrofoil of Greenlines.

On the morning of January 21, HCM City Chairman Le Hoang Quan hosted a meeting with relevant agencies to consider the incident related to a hydrofoil fire on the Saigon River on January 20.

Quan decided to temporarily suspend all hydrofoils on the HCM City - Vung Tau waterway for quality inspection.

The official also asked the local police to quickly investigate the hydrofoil fire and the Ministry of Transport to clarify responsibilities of the vehicle registration agency.

Related to the hydrofoil fire on Monday afternoon, the city decided to present a certificate of merit and VND10 million bonus for the owner of a fishing boat in District 7 for saving dozens of passengers.

According to authorities, the burnt hydrofoil - Vina Express 01 – is owned by the Vina Speedboat JSC. It was manufactured in 1994, with 132 seats. The ship was checked on 17/1/2014.

On January 20, the hydrofoil carried 85 passengers from Ho Chi Minh City to Ba Ria-Vung Tau when the blaze began. The ship was not far from the city’s District 7.

After being informed of the accident, Ho Chi Minh City port authorities coordinated with the Border Guard, waterway traffic police and other forces to take immediate action to save the boat. All the passengers were brought ashore safely. They have been taken on to Ba Ria-Vung Tau by car.

At present, there are three companies offering hydrofoil services on the HCM City - Vung Tau route, including Vina Express, Greenlines and Petro Express with more than 20 hydrofoils. Most of the boats are old ones, imported from Russia and Eastern Europe. Some boats have been used for over 20 years.

Hydrofoil incidents, the fear of passengers

So far, a lot of incidents related to the operation of hydrofoils on the HCM City-Vung Tau waterway have been reported.

In the afternoon of July 26, 2013, a hydrofoil of Greenlines carrying a hundred passengers from Vung Tau to HCM City broke down in Long Tau River in HCM City. The boat drifted and hit a marker stake, which made the boat stagger and water flowed into the vessel. The incident caused nearly 100 passengers on board, including many children, to panic.

After nearly one hour adrift, the ship's auxiliary engine was launched. At that time the rescue boat of HCM City Police arrived at the scene. The hydrofoil was escorted to the Bach Dang Wharf in District 1. The carrier had to refund 50 percent of the fare for passengers after the incident.

This was not the first time hydrofoils of Greenlines got in distress. On August 15, 2012, a Greenlines hydrofoil carrying dozens of passengers from HCM City to Vung Tau had its window glass broken by waves in Bai Truoc, Vung Tau. Water splashed into the passenger compartment, making many people soaked.

On 25/11/2009, a Greenlines hydrofoil carrying 37 passengers, including three foreigners, from HCM City to Vung Tau suddenly crashed into a hydrofoil of Petro Express 2 near the Phu My Bridge, HCM City. The crash sent eight injured passengers to hospital. The Petro Express hydrofoil was damaged in the prow.

According to the Vung Tau port authorities, from 2007 to 2013, incidents with hydrofoils were recorded every year, with six incidents in 2012 alone. Most of the incidents occurred with hydrofoils of Greenlines. A Vina Express hydrofoil caused the death of a fisherman in an accident in September 2011.

To minimize incidents of hydrofoils on the HCM City - Vung Tau route, on August 20, 2013, the Ministry of Transport suspended the operation of hydrofoils with one motor from September 1, 2013.

Le Ha

hydrofoil, hcm city-vung tay, waterway, accidents