All photos by Christian Berg
Since first setting sail in Halong Bay in 2007, Bhaya Cruises has grown to encompass 17 overnight boats and three sub-brands. Along the way, the group has made constant efforts to improve its operations for sustainability. Upon hiring, all staff receive training on Halong Bay’s ecosystem and environmental conservation. The Bhaya GREEN Office has so far succeeded in refurbishing its welcome centre with LED lights, low-flow cisterns and energy-efficient equipment.
On board, operations have been adapted to minimise paper and plastic waste, while swapping for sustainable alternatives. Litter nets collect waste while the ship is in motion, and wastewater treatment facilities are installed on The Au Co ships. Bhaya Cruises’ goal is to make the entire fleet carbon-neutral within a few years.
‘Action for Halong Bay’ -- Bhaya Cruises’ annual clean-up -- has become an industry event, bringing together NGOs, businesses and volunteers in regular clean-up drives in the bay. Participants join together for a day of training, collecting and auditing trash in remote corners of Halong. The event not only helps to raise awareness and preserve the ecosystem, but is an opportunity to collect data on common types of debris and educate volunteers about how to sort waste.
As a large portion of the trash found is fishing gear, Bhaya Cruises partners with e-Connect English to provide education to floating villages in the bay. This initiative offers local youth better economic opportunities as well as insight into the environment, so that sustainable practices can be absorbed on a community level.
In February of 2017, Bhaya Cruises launched its ‘Save the Langur’ campaign to support the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project (CBLCP). Founded on Cat Ba island, the NGO works to protect the island’s population of native White-headed Langurs, one of the most critically endangered primates in the world. The protection of these creatures from poaching is still important, with only 60 remaining in the wild and 6 in captivity at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong.
Bhaya Cruises has lent its resources to the project, with promotional materials and awareness videos. Bhaya Cruises sells souvenirs aboard its ships and in its welcome centre to raise funds for CBLCP. Some guests of the cruise company have been so inspired by the plight of the langur, they held collections in their own hometowns to contribute to the project.