All tour boats parked in unregulated places on Ha Long Bay must be removed before August 15, according to the city People's Committee.

The Ha Long committee's plan aims to tighten management on tour boats on the bay, and thus reduce losses caused by storm.

Tour boats which do not register their residence in Ha Long Bay must move to their registered places. Boats that have registered their residence in the bay before January 1, 2005 but are anchored in unregulated zones, must move to one of the seven regulated anchorage spots in the bay. The spots include Ba Hang, Hoa Cuong, Cua Van, Ba Ham, Cong Tau, Vong Vien and Cong Dam.

The Ha Long People's Committee also asked the Hung Thang Ward People's Committee to set up a plan of evacuation for residents in fishing villages in order to minimise losses during storms and strong winds.

Deputy chairman of the city People's Committee Vu Van Hop said that when tour boats anchor illegally, the authorities do not have a plan of financially supporting them.

"They are not registered as residence or temporary residence in the bay but carry out business here, thus their trading is illegal," he said.

In regulated anchorage places, the tour boats with license plates could be better managed.

It would be safer for them, especially in changing weather, said Hop.

The tour boat owners can continue carrying out their business legally in their registered inhabitation places, he added.

However, Hoang Quang Hai, head of the Ha Long Urban Management Division, said that many tour boat owners hesitate to move.

"Trading on the bay brings them higher income than in other places," he said.

As many as 619 tour boats operate on the bay./.