|The Ánh Dương QN 3598 Ship catches fire on January 10 on the Hạ Long Bay in the northern province of Quảng Ninh. – VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đức|Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NINH – Northern Quảng Ninh Province will temporarily halt work of all cruise ships with wood cover, which were originally transformed from ferries, for safety reasons.
The information was announced by provincial party committee secretary Nguyễn Văn Đọc on Monday, adding that the province might stop the work of the wooden tourist ships permanently to protect tourists.
The request was released following a fire at 3pm on Monday on the ship QN 2071, which was waiting for tourists visiting Hạ Long Bay at Cửa Vạn Village.
The ship’s seamen managed to move the tourists’ belongings in time and extinguish the fire.
The ship QN 2071 was transporting seven tourists -- five foreigners and two Vietnamese -- and five employees of the ship. The tourists spent the nights on the ship at Hạ Long Bay.
When the fire occurred, the seven tourists were rowing kayaks on the bay and only the QN 2071’s staff was onboard.
The QN 2071 has a wood cover and was made in 2003. It was transformed into a cruise ship in 2012 and has three cabins.
It is the second ship to catch fire in the province this year.
The first fire occurred on a wooden tourist ship -- Ánh Dương QN 3598 -- on January 10. The Ánh Dương was transformed from a ferry.
People with in-depth experience in making tourist ships in the province said converting ferry into tourist ships was not safe. It only helped owners make use of their ships for a longer period and save some money because it was expensive to build a ship with a steel cover.
Ships with wood cover, although they have been converted and upgraded, are made of flammable material and their electric system is very old, hence a short circuit can occur easily.– VNS