The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has decided to suspend the operations of all hydrofoils in the locality for inspection.

The move, following the fire on a hydrofoil on January 20 in the Saigon River, aims to detect all unqualified vehicles to ensure passenger safety.

In a meeting with relevant agencies to seek solutions to the accident, Chairman of the Committee Le Hoang Quan directed the municipal police to set up an investigation team to find out the cause of the fire.

On January 20, the SG 3837 hydrofoil operated by Vina Express JSC was carrying 85 Vietnamese and foreign passengers as well as seven crew from Ho Chi Minh City to Ba Ria-Vung Tau when the blaze began not far from the city’s District 7.

After being informed of the accident, Ho Chi Minh City port authorities coordinated with the Border Guard, waterway traffic police and other forces to take immediate action to save the boat.

All the passengers were brought ashore safely and taken on to Ba Ria-Vung Tau by car.

Local firefighters are working hard to prevent about 2,000 litres of oil from spreading in the river.

The dozens year-old hydrofoil, with a maximum capacity of 132 passengers, underwent a safety inspection on January 17.

Currently, there are 14 hydrofoils operating in the city, mainly on the Ho Chi Minh City - Vung Tau route.

Municipal leaders also asked the Department of Transport to increase vehicles on the route to meet passenger demand as all hydrofoils’ operations have been halted for inspection. They also directed the Department of Fire Prevention and Fire to organise more drills to stay active in responding to waterway disasters.-VNA