According to the Vietnamese government’s new regulation on waterway traffic, ferry and boat passengers will be subject to the financial penalties if they are not wearing life jackets or other types of personal floating devices.

It has been quite common for waterway passengers in Vietnam to neglect the importance of putting on a life jacket during their journey, posing potential dangers which could cost them their lives.

A recent serious waterway traffic accident happened in the central city of Da Nang in early June, when three people, including two young children, died after a cruise ship overturned.

The vessel was carrying the number of passengers double its capacity and all those aboard were not wearing any life jackets.

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters in the past few days, the significance of such flotation equipment has been underestimated by ferry passengers along the bank of the An Phu Dong River, which lies between District 12 and Go Vap District in Ho Chi Minh City.

Life jackets were only handed to the first few passengers, most of whom hung them on their motorcycles or used them to block sunlight.

Similar situations can also be noticed at the Phu Dinh Wharf in District 8 as ferry operators do not provide their travelers with safety equipment.

While many passengers fail to understand the necessity of life jackets, most ferry operators also pay little to no attention to the safety of travelers.

As per regulations, boats and ferries are not allowed to depart until all passengers are outfitted with safety gear, said Hoang Van Hung, head of the Vietnam Inland Waterway Administration South Branch.

Operators who go against the rule will be fined from VND200,000 ($9) to VND4 million ($180),Hung stated.

Ships and ferries without sufficient floatation devices shall also be liable for between VND200,000 and VND3 million ($135) in fines, he added.

Tuoi Tre News - June 26, 2016