Ha Long Bay islet at risk of collapse


Protecting Ha Long Bay’s Trong Mai Islet: Urgent Measures Needed

Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not just a marvel of nature, but also home to various islets that add to its charm. However, today, one such islet stands threatened – the Trong Mai Islet.

The Fragility of Trong Mai Islet

Tucked away in the bay, approximately 5 kilometers from Tuan Chau International Port, the Trong Mai Islet has become a symbol of vulnerability.

Symbolic Significance of the Islet

Best known for its unique structure, the Trong Mai Islet resembles a pair of a rooster (trong) and a hen (mai). These avian rocks are often seen as symbols of togetherness, and countless tourists capture their silhouette against the bay’s azure backdrop.

Erosion Woes: The Core Issue

Ho Tien Chung, an expert in tectonics and geomorphology, recently drew attention to the increasing risks of the islet’s collapse. According to him, low tide phases expose the islet’s base to relentless erosion, putting its very foundation in jeopardy.

The Role of Cracks in Erosion

Multiple cracks have been identified on the islet. These cracks, once formed, become the gateway for wind and water. This dynamic duo then exacerbates erosion, effectively corroding the rock and accelerating the fragmentation process.

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Key Findings from the July Report

An exhaustive report from the Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources in July laid bare the scale of the problem. It highlighted that a staggering 40 blocks in the vicinity of the islet are on the verge of toppling over. Alarmingly, 11 blocks from the Trong Islet and 29 from the Mai Islet are under threat.

Human Activities Amplifying the Threat

Humans, unfortunately, have been unintentionally contributing to the islet’s demise.

The Impact of Fishing Activities

Despite its fragile state, fishing activities continue unabated in the area surrounding Trong Mai. The lack of strict oversight and protection has led to the exploitation of marine resources, further straining the environment around the islet.

The Boat Menace: A Closer Look

Cruise ships, tourist boats, and canoes are commonplace near the islet. Even though landings on Trong Mai are prohibited, ships still venture perilously close, causing potential harm.

Speedboats and Erosion: A Dangerous Link

The sheer power of speedboats, when combined with their proximity to the islet, leads to significant erosion. Waves created by these vessels, especially the larger ones, can be more than 80 centimeters high, relentlessly beating against the already vulnerable rock surface.

Proposed Protective Actions

Given the dire situation, experts are rallying for protective measures to safeguard the islet.

Engineering Solutions

Among the proposed solutions are anchoring rocks, filling cracks with cement, building protective concrete walls, and utilizing a mix of concrete and plastic fibers to combat erosion.

Recommendations for Tourism

The tourism sector needs to recalibrate. Changes in boat routes, regulating stopping points, and limiting speeds near the islet are crucial. A recommended speed limit of 5-10 km/h within a 200-300 meter radius around the islet has been suggested.

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Sensitizing Local Fishermen

In tandem with structural solutions, there’s a need to raise awareness among local fishermen about the islet’s fragility and the role they play in its preservation.

Previous Islet Losses: A Cautionary Tale

The haunting disappearance of the Swan Islet and Islet 649 serves as a poignant reminder of the looming threat to Trong Mai. Such losses accentuate the urgency to act and protect this iconic islet.

In conclusion, preserving the Trong Mai Islet is not just about saving a rock formation; it’s about safeguarding a symbol, a heritage, and an emblem of nature’s grandeur.


  1. Why is Trong Mai Islet significant?
    • Trong Mai Islet, resembling a rooster and a hen, is a symbolic representation of togetherness and is a renowned location in Ha Long Bay.
  2. What is causing the erosion of the islet?
    • Natural factors combined with human activities, such as fishing and boat traffic, are accelerating erosion.
  3. How are speedboats contributing to the islet’s damage?
    • Speedboats, especially larger ones, create high waves that continuously erode the islet’s surface.
  4. What are some proposed solutions to protect the islet?
    • Solutions include anchoring rocks, injecting cement into cracks, constructing protective walls, and utilizing concrete with plastic fibers.
  5. Have other islets in Ha Long Bay faced similar threats?
    • Yes, Swan Islet and Islet 649 are examples of islets that have disappeared due to erosion and other factors.