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Vietnamese province asks to stop dredging sea passage on Phu Quoc Island

Thursday, December 10, 2015, 22:02 GMT+7
Vietnamese province asks to stop dredging sea passage on Phu Quoc Island
A barge mines sand beside a giant Singaporean vessel in the waters around Phu Quoc Island, which is a district administered by Kien Giang Province.

Officials in Kien Giang Province have proposed a stop to the dredging of sea passages and to the export of sand at a military harbor on Phu Quoc Island, saying it causes erosion at a nearby beach.

According to a report by Phu Quoc authorities, the sand dredging has ‘eaten away’ a kilometer of beach on the island and poses a risk that the situation may worsen.

Kien Giang is a province in the Mekong Delta and Phuc Quoc is one of its districts.

Authorities of the Mekong Delta province said that they have multiple construction projects underway on Phu Quoc and the projects need sand for leveling.

The province has sent a written proposal to the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Vietnam People’s Navy.

The military port in An Thoi Town belongs to the armed services of the navy’s fifth zone, covering the waters of the Mekong Delta in the southern part of Vietnam.

Dredging passages for the port and exporting sand to Singapore are part of a project approved by the Ministry of Defense and carried out by the navy since 2010.

The High Command of the fifth zone had signed contracts with two Vietnamese companies, Duc Long and Hai Viet, to implement the project.

Sand pumped onto the 58,000-ton ship Ocean Colossus of Singaporean nationality is exported at US$1.3 per cubic meter. So far, the giant ship has made four trips to carry sand to Singapore.

Responding to the proposal of Kien Giang, Admiral Doan Van So – commander of the fifth zone – said that dredging the sea passages is urgent and necessary for military activities.

However, the navy already terminated the contracts with the two companies in the middle of November over their breaching them, he added.

Denying erosion has been caused by the dredging work, the fifth zone said it had checked the scene and passed the buck to climate change leading to a change in underwater currents.

Admiral So added that dredging sea passages on Phu Quoc and exporting sand can only be paused or terminated at the request of the High Command of the Vietnam People’s Navy.

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