Tour boat operators on Vietnam’s heritage-listed Ha Long Bay are outraged at a move by local authorities to ban about 25 percent of vessels from working the waters, a move that will cost thousands of jobs.
The Quang Ninh Tour Boat Association has lodged an objection to Quang Ninh Province’s Resolution 4088, which says timber boats of more than 15 years old, cannot operate in Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.
About 120 boats might be shut down and over 1,000 people would become unemployed.
Nguyen Duy Phu, deputy head of Quang Ninh Tour Boat Association, said, “Both Circular 43 issued in 2012 by the Ministry of Transport and government’s Resolution 111 issued in 2014 state that expire date of wooden boats is 25 years. So Quang Ninh’s resolution goes against both of the circular and resolution.”
A member of Tour Boat Association said 80 percent of the operating boats are over 10 years old and owners had spent hundreds of billions on recent repairing and maintaining so they might bear huge loss if they can only operate for few more years.
Le Quang Tung, vice chairman of Quang Ninh People’s Committee said, “The management work is lax. Our statistics show that fire and accidents that occurred recently are all on over 10-year-old boats. Over 15-year-old boats of course can still operate but just not at Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.”
He went on to say that in their planning, they would stop building current type of boats altogether to develop a new fleet and they would give priorities to firms that have banned wooden boats.