According to the new official document, tourists in Halong Bay will now only be allowed to sit inside cabins as part of the reaction by authorities to the capsized tourism boat accident on Danang’s Han River which left three people dead.
The official document was issued on June 6 by Ha Long City People’s Committee.
Boat owners are unsure if they have to ban tourists from going to deck, bow or the boatside so they asked tourists to stay inside.
Some boat owners use ropes and wood planks to block the way to the upper deck.
The decision was met with displeasure from tourists who mostly go to Halong Bay to enjoy the view and fresh air.
Nguyen Thu Ha, a tourist from Hanoi said, “We paid to hire a boat for sightseeing but we could only sit inside where it was hot and crowded.”
When being asked, the crew said the tourist boat in Danang capsized due to too many tourists on deck.
Their operation can be suspended from ten days to six months if found to violate the rules.
A representative from Quang Ninh Province People’s Committee said they were improving the management and the quality of tourist boats to ensure safety for tourists, but backtracked and said they had not banned tourists from going out while on boats.
Ho Quang Huy, deputy chairman of Halong City said they had asked Quang Ninh Province Department of Transport to explain in more detail about the document and whether tourists were banned from going to the bow and deck as there are several types of boat and ship.
The boats that have proper deck, banisters, good stairs and have permits from agencies would still be safe even if all the tourists were on the deck.
Before the guidance from the Department of Transport is issued, tourists should still be able to go out for some fresh air but many boat owners have refused to do so because they have yet to receive an official decision on the issue.