Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Warning: ferry fire from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien

Posted by mulaohu on 14/1/2010 at 15:07

We took the 08:30 hydrofoil leaving from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien.
Shortly after leaving Phu Quoc, we smelled smoke in the cabin. We noticed the crew members moving about on the outside of the boat, but it was until the door inadvertently opened to the engine room that we saw the dense black smoke coming from within. One of the boat's engines had caught on fire.

When the fire was eventually extinguished, the crew told us that they would continue on with just one engine - this despite our vocal protestations to turn back immediately. One crew member even gave us the "no problem" hand signal, saying the same in Vietnamese.

After lilting a bit in the rocky waters, the crew realized that traversing the rest of the journey on just one engine would be too slow. We turned back.

Clearly, there was no back-up plan in case of an emergency. At no point did any crew attempt to radio the mainland. Two of the fire extinguishers on board were empty and useless. When we finally did reach Phu Quoc, the office "offered" to transfer our tickets to either a local, smaller fishing boat (twice as slow and even more dangerous!), or to board the next ferry. The woman at the office made vague promises that it would be a bigger vessel, but details were very vague and not forthcoming. For all we knew, we would board the same ferry.

Fortunately my husband speaks Vietnamese and acted as a translator between the foreigners and the crew, which helped immensely as none of the crew spoke any English. We were able to get our money back (surrounded the ticket office and demanded it). Several other passengers went to the Rach Gia ferry, which they said was much bigger and safer, while we opted to stay on the island and fly out to Ho Chi Minh City instead.

According to several locals, fires on ferries are not uncommon. Bear this in mind if you choose to take the small hydrofoil from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien.

#1 mulaohu has been a member since 14/1/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 18/1/2010 at 08:53 admin

Thanks for the report (I've moved this from Trip Reports to the Vietnam forum, as I think more people will see it there). Not sure why this message was flagged as spam -- sorry about that!

Glad to hear you got back to terra firma ok!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,565
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Posted by rmikiewi on 20/1/2010 at 23:14

We were also on this boat on 14.01.2010. The fire accident was really scarry and some passengers were already seriously thinking about jumping out from the boat (including myself). Luckily it ended up without casualities, however one of the passengers was slightly injured (by fire). I definetly do not recommend this boat... Finally we decided to change our travel plans and we took the big speed boat to Rach Gia (Superdong II) wich was in much better shape and was looking reliable.

#3 rmikiewi has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by rmikiewi on 20/1/2010 at 23:15

We were also on this boat on 14.01.2010. The fire accident was really scarry and some passengers were already seriously thinking about jumping out from the boat (including myself). Luckily it ended up without casualities, however one of the passengers was slightly injured (by fire). I definetly do not recommend this boat... Finally we decided to change our travel plans and we took the big speed boat to Rach Gia (Superdong II) wich was in much better shape and was looking reliable.

#4 rmikiewi has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 3


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