Nguyen Vu Hai, deputy head of the authority, said VnExpress On Monday, the motorboat that capsized off the central coast last week met all safety standards and was correctly registered.
Regarding comments blaming the accident, which killed 17 people, on the lack of emergency exits on the boat, Hai said high-speed boats have a thin, small and compact design for fast operation.
“When using at sea, it must be closed because if not, strong waves and wind will cause water to splash into the cockpit, causing instability and possibly resulting in sinking, threatening passenger safety.”
Therefore, these motorboats must have sealed windows to protect passengers and prevent water from entering the cabin, he said.
At around 2 p.m. last Saturday, a speedboat operated by the Phuong Dong company was carrying 39 people, including three crew members, from the Cham Islands off Hoi An city in central Vietnam to shore when was engulfed by large waves about three kilometers from Cua Dai beach. .
The accident claimed 17 lives as confirmed on Monday afternoon. All are tourists from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
The motor boat that capsized off Hoi An town is brought ashore on February 26, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Shortly after the crash, Vietnam Register had reviewed all of the vehicle’s records and confirmed that it had been legally registered, with the latest inspection on January 19 showing it met all safety standards.
At the time of the accident, the registration certificate was still valid.
The boat was built in 2016 as a motor boat with a roof and open top for cruising rivers, lakes and closed bays. Three years later it was converted to have windows to carry more than 30 passengers and operate more than 12 nautical miles from shore following a regulation from the Department for Transport in 2018.
After the conversion, she was qualified to carry passengers back and forth to the Cham Islands, a tourist destination about 18 kilometers from Cua Dai Port in Hoi An.
Prior to 2018, there were around 140 vessels operating on the route between the islands and Hoi An, and after considering them unsafe with open roofs, the ministry decided to establish the rule based on existing lane regulations. national waterways from the coast to the islands.
Following the new rule, many motorboat owners had converted their vessels to fit them with glass windows and an enclosed roof.
Passengers of an overturned motor boat receive emergency aid at Cua Dai beach in Hoi An, February 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
However, after the fatal crash, survivors and authorities in Hoi An said the converted boats only had two entrances, providing little space to escape.
They said the passengers were trapped inside because they were all wearing life jackets and when the water rushed in they floated up to inadvertently block their own means of escape.
During a meeting with the leaders of the National Road Safety Committee and the Ministry of Transport on the morning of February 27, Nguyen Van Son, president of Hoi An, reiterated that converted motorboats are not safe.
“We recommend the Department of Transport review the current regulations on standards for converted boats,” he said.
However, Hai of Vietnam Register said that all the converted boats have been inspected by the authority and they all meet the national standard, based on the International Safety Code for High Speed Craft (HSC Code) of Vietnam. International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Regarding the latest incident, the Ministry of Transport asked Vietnam Register to strengthen the inspection of passenger boats operating from the shore to the islands.
“We will continue to study new regulations from IMO and other developed countries and organizations to propose amendments and supplements to national technical regulations,” Hai said.
The police are still investigating the case.