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16 foreigners rescued from ship blaze in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay

Wednesday, February 04, 2015, 11:40 GMT+7
16 foreigners rescued from ship blaze in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay
This file photo shows a beach on Ti Top Island in Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh. A large fire occurred on board a cruise ship anchoring near the island on February 3, 2015, forcing the evacuation of 25 people, including 16 foreigners.

Twenty-five people, including 16 foreign travelers, on board a cruise ship were rescued safely from a fire that burned a ship in Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage site in northern Vietnam, on Tuesday evening, local authorities reported.

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The blaze occurred aboard the 3-star tourist ship QN-2566 when the vessel was anchored near Ti Top Island in the bay in Quang Ninh Province at about 8:00 pm last night, said Le Duy Phuoc, deputy director of the provincial Inland Waterway Authority (IWA).

The island is about 7 km southeast of the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf in Ha Long City, which is the provincial capital.

At that time, 16 foreign tourists of various nationalities, seven crewmembers, a tour guide and a steward were on board the ship, Phuoc told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper over the phone last night.

As soon as the fire was detected, the ship’s captain asked local agencies for help in extinguishing the blaze and evacuating the people on board, Phuoc said.

The IWA, waterway police and fire police were then deployed to the scene to combat the flame and carry out an evacuation, with the aid of some other ships in the bay.

Rescuers then took all 25 people on board to Ti Top Island safely, while the violent fire burned the vessel despite the effort of firefighters.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Doc ordered all agencies concerned to rapidly take the rescued people to the mainland to examine their health condition and ease their mind.

Competent agencies are investigating the cause of the blaze. The cruise ship is operated by Ha Long Bien Ngoc Co. Ltd., located in Ha Long City.

The vessel has 18 beds and recently resumed operations after a maintenance period, the IWA said.

It met all standards for night accommodation services and order and security, the agency added.

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