Cargo ship travels along the Xang Xa Canal, Mekong Delta Hau Giang province (Photo:VNA)
Tien Giang (VNA) - Domestic waterways play a critical role in passenger and cargo transport in the Mekong Delta, but the rate of accidents remains at a high level due to lack of attention from local and related authorities.

Speaking at a seminar on waterway safety held in the Delta province of Tien Giang, Nguyen Van Thach, head of the Ministry of Transport's Transport Safety Department, said: "Domestic waterway activities in the Delta are disorderly and unsafe because of narrow passages, and unlicensed and unsafe wharfs."

"Vessels are not registered and checked, while steersmen don't have driving licences," he added.

During the 2005-2014 period, the Mekong Delta had 1,150 accidents on waterways, with 644 fatalities.

For the first 10 months of this year, there were 97 accidents, 39 fatalities and eight injured people, with total damages of 21 billion VND (around 1 million USD).

At the seminar, 200 scientists, representatives of management offices, waterway police and members of transportation safety committees of Mekong Delta provinces took part in discussions.

The seminar also included presentations on safety for unlicensed wharfs; information systems that could help reduce accidents; inadequate regulations; and signals for ships during flooding season.

To resolve disorder on domestic waterways, the provinces will review and complete a new legal framework on domestic waterway transportation, as well as promote education about waterway laws to increase awareness among businesses.-VNA