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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CSC still registering ships, successor says

CSC still registering ships, successor says

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

last year.

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

a response.

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

Chain.

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.

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