One day after suspending operations to protest against new safety regulations issued by Quang Ninh Province authorities, 500 tourist boats in Ha Long Bay resumed work Saturday after authorities backed down.
Cruise boats on Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province
On Friday the boats had stayed away saying they cannot meet the requirements stipulated in Decision 716.
As a result hundreds of domestic and foreign travelers waited for hours in vain to cruise the bay.
Faced with recalcitrant boat owners, the People’s Committee decided to put off implementation of the new rules, Trinh Dang Thanh, deputy director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told newswire VnExpress.
The regulations require the boats to have automatic fire alarm and fire extinguishing systems, a global positioning system, high-pressure pumps that can spray water 35-40 meters, and other safety systems.
Each cabin must measure at least 8 square meters and toilets, 2.5 square meters.
All attendants must have a high school degree.
Most owners said they cannot meet these requirements in such a short period of time.
Dao Manh Luong, chairman of the Ha Long Bay Boat Association, urged authorities to discuss with boat owners a roadmap to upgrade the fleet.
Some of the owners said the deadline for the new rules had been put off to September 10.
The authorities said the new safety regulations were drafted to prevent deadly accidents like the sinking of the Truong Hai in the bay last February in which 12 tourists, including 10 foreigners, were killed.