|A hydrofoil carrying over 80 passengers suddenly caught fire on the Sai Gon River on Monday. HCM City authorities have ordered the suspension of all hydrofoil services following the fire.—Photo Tuoi tre Newspaper
HCM CITY (VNS)— Efforts are on to prevent a possible oil spill in the Sai Gon River from the hydrofoil that burst into flames on Monday.
The HCM City – based Vina Express Joint Stock Company, the operator of the Sai Gon – Vung Tau hydrofoil service, and Dai Minh Salvage and Rescue Company have sent three salvage teams to the site to prevent some 2,000 litres of diesel from spreading from the sunken hydrofoil.
The oil has been collected but the teams have placed 300 metres of buoys around the accident site.
Since the water level in the Sai Gon River is high, it has not been possible to salvage and bring the vessel ashore, Hoang Van Loc, director of Dai Minh JSC, told Viet Nam News Agency.
He said the task would be done when the water level recedes.
Hydrofoil SG 3837 was carrying 85 passengers from HCM City to Vung Tau city when a blaze broke out when it was in District 7's Tan Thuan Dong Ward at 1pm on Monday.
Shortly after being informed of the accident, HCM City port authorities co-ordinated with the Border Guard, waterway traffic police, and other forces to take action.
They dispatched 30 boats to the site to rescue passengers, who were then sent on to Vung Tau by road.
On Monday night, the deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, Le Thanh Liem, met with relevant authorities and Vina Express officials to identify the cause of the fire.
HCM City authorities have ordered the suspension of all hydrofoil services following the fire.
At a meeting yesterday to discuss the accident, the chairman of the city People's Committee, Le Hoang Quan, said it is aimed at "checking" hydrofoils for safety.
He asked the police to identify the cause of the fire on board the Vina Express Joint Stock Company vessel, and told the Department of Transport to increase land transport to Vung Tau to meet the expected increase in demand as a result of the suspension. — VNS