Chàm Islands resume boat trips

March, 16/2022 - 09:02

The boat route connecting Chàm Islands and Hội An City’s Cửa Đại port has resumed as usual after a two-day temporary halt for checks on March 14-15.

 

A boat anchors in the sea of Chàm Islands off the coast of Hội An. Boat services between Hội An's Cửa Đại port and the Islands have resumed serving travel for islanders and tourists. VNS Photo Công Thành 

CENTRAL REGION — The boat route connecting the Chàm Islands and Hội An City’s Cửa Đại port has resumed after a two-day temporary halt for checks on March 14-15.

The operation of the speed-boat route was reduced from 60 to 15 trips per day after a boat sank, killing 17 near Cửa Đại Beach in Hội An City on February 26.

Chairman of Hội An City’s People’s Committee, Nguyễn Văn Sơn, said that the sea route was allowed operation after a cross-check for traffic safety regulations between the city and Quảng Nam traffic inspection agency on March 14-15.

He said the temporary suspension of the sea route interrupted daily travel among islanders and people between Hội An, Quảng Nam and the Islands.

The route is now under management and inspection of five units – the People’s Committee of Hội An City and Tân Hiệp Commune (authority of Chàm Islands); Quảng Nam provincial border guard force; the provincial traffic inspection agency and management board of Chàm Islands Marine Protected Area.

The islands are overloaded with 152 boats serving daily traffic among local people and tourism services. It hosts around 400,000 tourists per year.

While the boat tragedy was under investigation, boat travel remained for daily traffic and cargo on the route with stricter safety regulations.

In 2019, leaders of the Chàm Islands Marine Protected Area refused more boats from Đà Nẵng to the islands as it would be overrun by boats, waste and mass tourism.

Lý Sơn boat controversy

 

Boats carry tourists to An Bình Islet of Lý Sơn Islands, off the coast of Quảng Ngãi province. More boat routes are planned from Đà Nẵng to the Islands. Photo courtesy of Bùi Thanh Trung 

The chairman of Quảng Ngãi province’s people’s committee, Đặng Văn Minh, has agreed to the proposal of operating a boat route from Đà Nẵng to Lý Sơn Islands.

However, the provincial transport department disagreed, saying that the Đà Nẵng-Lý Sơn boat route would damage the tourism plan of Quảng Ngãi.

The department said the Sa Kỳ-Lý Sơn Islands route, a major local sea route connecting the mainland of Quảng Ngãi and the Islands, with a fleet of six vessels (total of 1,200 seats) only carry 200 people each day with around 700 people at the weekend.

It said the fleet would only operate with full capacity (3,000 tourists per day) during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays and high tourism season (between March and August).

The department also said the fleet could provide enough traffic demands for islanders and visitors, and the islands would be overloaded if more boats were allowed to travel from Đà Nẵng or other sites.

The current fishing port of Lý Sơn Islands, which was used from 1998, is not suitable for tourism boats, while newly constructed Bến Đình port has yet been put into operation, according to the department.

Nguyễn Phong, director of the provincial transport department, said it would review the operation of Đà Nẵng-Lý Sơn Islands boat route as it costs five times as much as road traffic from Đà Nẵng to Lý Sơn Islands.

Phong said the 150km bus travel from Đà Nẵng to Sa Kỳ Port in the mainland of Quảng Ngãi takes two and a half hours, and it needs a 30-minute boat journey from Sa Kỳ to Lý Sơn islands.

Meanwhile, the 152km sea route from Đà Nẵng to Lý Sơn Islands needs five hours in smooth weather but is cancelled in rough seas.

Phong suggested that a cruise route should be built for luxury tourism services from the Đà Nẵng to Lý Sơn Islands.

The Lý Sơn Islands, 24km off the coast of Sa Kỳ Port, host around 200,000 tourists per year. 

In 2021, the Quảng Ngãi Provincial People’s Committee halted the dossier for UNESCO recognition of the Lý Sơn-Sa Huỳnh Global Geo-Park.

The chairman of the province, Đặng Văn Minh, said the park covers 4,600sq.km, including 2,000sq.km of sea, and would not reserve land for economic plans. VNS

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