The country's newly-appointed shipping registry has accused its predecessor of continuing
to issue certificates for Cambodian-flagged vessels despite having its contract canceled
The new operator, the International Ship Registry of Cambodia (ISROC), took over
the registry from the disgraced Cambodian Shipping Corporation (CSC) in February.
CSC, which is based in Singapore, had its contract terminated by the Cambodian government
after a series of embarrassing scandals involving Cambodian-registered ships.
ISROC's general director, Captain Hae-Jin Shin, told the Post that CSC had refused
to hand over the database of registered ships, and has continued the "very dangerous
and criminal action" of illegally registering ships in the name of the government.
"By doing so, their illegal and criminal behaviors cause the Royal Government
of Cambodia's reputation to be fallen and crushed to the ground and makes ship-owners
and port authorities of each nation of the world confused by this serious chaos,"
he wrote in a faxed statement on June 30.
"Even though ISROC strongly requested [CSC] to immediately transfer the database
through the related department of the Cambodian government many times, CSC ignored
the command of the Cambodian government," he stated.
Chea Vandeth, who worked on the selection committee that chose the new operator last
year, said Phnom Penh was pursuing the database through government channels.
"We sent a letter to the Singapore Embassy to stop all of [CSC's] illegal activities,"
Vandeth said, adding that one month after it was sent, the government had not received
Vandeth said the decision as to whether the government would take legal action against
CSC would be made at a later date.
ISROC's Shin also asserted that CSC was using the database to lure ships to a new
registry using the flag of landlocked Mongolia. However that was rejected by both
the deputy director of the Mongolian shipping registry, Captain Jonathan Foong, and
CSC's executive director, Captain Ng Eng Choon.
The two told the industry newspaper Lloyd's List that there was no formal connection
between the two registries. Ng said that CSC had simply contacted its clients as
a matter of "friendship".
However the Mongolian Ship Registry now appears on the Maritimechain website in place
of the former CSC, and Captain Ng is listed on the panel of advisors for Maritime
ISROC, which is the local branch of the South Korean Cosmos Group, was hired to improve
the country's reputation in international shipping. It has registered more than 30
vessels since starting operations in February.
Shin accused CSC of hampering efforts to clean up the registry.
"[We] cannot analyze the exact information and situation on the vessels registered
under the Cambodian flag ... We cannot efficiently control any kind of problem in
advance," Shin stated.
He added that ISROC had not met its expected registration targets, but said the ship
registry was "almost successful".
Under ISROC's agreement with the government it must pay $25,000 a month as a licensing
fee. Shin said that despite the "seriously bad and unfavorable conditions",
the firm had met all its payment obligations.
His letter added that ISROC has taken several measures to screen ships and remove
problematic vessels from the registry. It has also engaged five survey and inspection
organizations to evaluate and classify newly registered ships.
Cambodian-flagged vessels have been blacklisted by the European Union because of
their reputation of being unseaworthy and for being involved with people- and drug-trafficking.