Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Only 62 per cent of the 240,000 watercraft operating in the country are registered and quality verified, the Việt Nam Register Agency has reported.
Additionally, only 30 to 40 per cent of the registered watercraft are re-examined regularly.
This means that almost 40 per cent of watercraft are unregistered, and have no guarantee of seaworthiness, danviet.vn reported.
According to Đỗ Trung Học, head of the riverboat department under Việt Nam Register Agency, small-sized watercraft – those with capacity of less than 135 horsepower or with less than 12 seats – are usually not registered as most owners are not even aware of the requirement. Many owners also don’t get their boats re-examined because they have not used them much due to reduced waterway traffic.
Local authorities, the waterway police and inspectors don’t hand out strict punishments to unregistered watercraft, so there are a high number of boats operating without licences. Học said “The unregistered and unverified watercrafts are a threat to waterway traffic.”
Colonel Trần Quốc Trung, vice-head of the public security ministry’s traffic police department, said the police found it difficult to investigate unregistered vehicles as they don’t have number plates. “We are not even sure how many unregistered watercraft are operating across the country,” he said.
Trần Văn Thọ, deputy head of Việt Nam inland waterway department under the transport ministry, said transport departments in cities and provinces are responsible for vehicle registrations. “There remain problems in managing and controlling unregistered vehicles,” he said, urging local authorities to take stronger action.
The transport ministry is planning to propose a national survey on watercraft to the government so that it can collect data systematically and keep better records on registrations.
Management activities on inland waterway transport should be further enhanced to ensure traffic safety. This was the main point of an instruction issued by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc last July on strengthening measures for safe traffic and security on waterways.
According to the Government, the number of accidents on waterways has increased dramatically causing many deaths and high property damage.
The main reason given for the increase in accidents was irresponsible management by the vehicles’ owners, the instruction pointed out. Many vehicles were found to not meet safety standards and boat captains were not qualified to operate the vehicles.
To reduce the number of waterway accidents and protect infrastructure works on rivers and coastal areas, the PM asked the Ministry of Transport to co-operate with relevant offices and local authorities to further tighten management on the transport route.
The Government also asked relevant agencies to stay in touch and share information on violations with the local inland waterways administrations and registry departments for more efficient management.
Under the PM’s instruction, an overall check on the quality of transport vehicles and the qualifications of crew members and conductors needed to be carried out and completed by 2017. — VNS