A ship carrying 36 foreign tourists had just docked at a seaport in the northern province of Quang Ninh on Friday, returning from a sightseeing trip in the famed Ha Long Bay, when it suddenly burst into flames.
The panicked foreigners and a local tour guide immediately jumped into the water to save their own lives, and were eventually taken ashore safely.
The ill-fated ship, in the meantime, was completely destroyed by the fire, apparently breaking out from the kitchen section.
The QN – 6299 ship, operated by local travel firm VIT Co. Ltd. and captained by Nguyen Xuan Thiem, was built in 2011 with 17 rooms.
It caught fire shortly after arriving at the Tuan Chau port from a trip around Ha Long Bay.
Local authorities rushed to the scene and took three slightly injured tourists to a local hospital just in time.
The 36 tourists are from England, France, Taiwan, South Korea, and others, Ha Quang Long, director of the Quang Ninh tourism department, said.
Rescuers are searching for the lost assets, including passports and other valuable papers, to return to the victims.
Competent agencies are working to determine the cause of the fire.