The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism would work out a set of standards for tour boats nationwide to ensure passenger safety, its deputy director Hoang Thi Diep said at an online conference in Hanoi on June 1.

The move follows recent accidents that led to the deaths of dozens of people.

Diep, however, also said it was too early to announce the new standards.

Representatives, including those from Da Nang , Hanoi and HCM City , agreed that poor management by various authorised bodies was to blame for the accidents.

Another deputy director of the administration Pham Minh Nghia said that many boats were registered as passenger ferries, but in fact worked as tour boats.

It was also difficult to distinguish between tour boats and passenger ferries because most also served as restaurants, said Nghia.

"We do not have specialised regulations to issue permits so we cannot punish boat owners," he said. To confuse matters, the inland waterway traffic law regulates that passengers cannot walk on the top of boats, but the tourist law says they can.

Tran Danh Thang, deputy director of the Waterway Police said that there were no clear regulations regarding whether a boat could stay out overnight, or for approving captains and chief mechanics.

Regulations are defined by provincial authorities and they vary from province to province.

The Ministry of Transport launched a 10-day inspection of tour boats today to check if they are equipped with life-jackets, whether they are registered and captain's certificates.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan said that the ministry has asked city and provincial authorities to monitor all waterway tourism enterprises, and focus on the safety of boats and the availability of life-jackets./.