37 tourists escape burning ship in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay

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All 37 tourists, including 36 foreigners, escaped safely from a sight-seeing boat after a fire broke out aboard in north Vietnam on Friday.

All the tourists were brought to shore after they jumped off the burning ship in Ha Long Bay - a world heritage site in Vietnam's northern province of Quang Ninh, some 120 km east of the capital Hanoi.

The cruise ship, coded QN 6299, caught fire when it had just arrived at Tuan Chau port after touring Ha Long Bay, Vietnam's state-run news agency VNA said.

Despite efforts by firefighters, the ship owned by VIT Tourism One-member Limited Company was destroyed completely and sank.

Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Nguyen Duc Long directed authorities to swiftly deal with the incident, support the tourists and crew members, and investigate the incident.

According to VNA, local authorities have intensified inspections over the quality of tourist boats, especially wooden boats, operating on Ha Long Bay, "however, several fire cases still occurred, requiring additional efforts of local authorities and better consciousness of tourist companies and ship owners."

The 36 foreign tourists are from China, France, South Korea, Britain and others, Ha Quang Long, director of the Quang Ninh tourism department told local online newspaper Tuoi Tre. Endit

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