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Firm fined over fatal boat sinking

A tour company in Vietnam has been fined and suspended over the sinking of a boat in which 12 people, including a British man, were killed.

Mai Tien Dung, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Culture and Tourism, said the AZ Queen Company was fined 15 million dong (£437) and ordered to suspend all domestic and international services for operating without a licence.

Stuart McCormick, an engineer from Irvine in Ayrshire, died with 10 other holidaymakers and a local guide when the Dream Voyage tourist boat sank last month after a broken pipe allowed water to leak into the vessel, which was anchored in Halong Bay for the night.

Most tourists were still sleeping and became trapped inside their overnight cabins when a torrent of water quickly inundated the boat and sucked it under on February 17.

The boat captain and crewman in charge of the engine were arrested on charges of negligence causing serious consequences, which carry a jail term of up to 12 years.

Mr Dung said his office has requested the Department of Planning and Investment to revoke AZ Queen's business licence.

The online version of Van Hoa (Culture) newspaper reported that AZ Queen has moved its office to another street in Hanoi's Old Quarter and changed its name to Happy Tours.

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