The Ministry of Transport has asked Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to continue the suspension of hydrofoils between Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to ensure passenger safety.

The move was made after safety inspections between February 27 and March 22 revealed a total of 258 faults on eight of the 10 vessels. This included technical faults in the cockpits, cabins and engines.

Minister Dinh La Thang said the faults posed a high risk of accidents, including fires, due to shortcomings in the vessels' engine and power systems.

He said the problems could only be temporarily fixed as most of the vessels had been operating for more than 20 years and repaired many times.

In January this year, a hydrofoil burst into flames while carrying 85 passengers on the route. No casualties occurred but the vessel's cabin and engine room were destroyed.

Municipal authorities later suspended operation of all hydrofoils in the city until checks were made.
Thang proposed the Government issue a decree banning the use of high-speed tourist vessels after 20 years' use.

In an earlier move to ensure passenger safety, the transport ministry has also suspended the operation of all hydrofoils operating on one motor.-VNA