AUTHORITIES have impounded two Cambodian sand-dredging vessels off the
coast of Preah Sihanouk province, according to fisheries officials who
say the company operating the ships lacked the necessary permission.
Administration director Nao Thuok said that the company, whose name he
could not recall, operated legally in Koh Kong province, but that
authorities cracked down when it was found that it was dredging without
a licence off Sihanoukville.
"The company ... came to Sihanoukville
to dredge, and [the ships] were confiscated," he said, adding that an
investigation into its activities was currently under way.
Ath, director of the Preah Sihanouk Fisheries Administration, said that
the vessels were confiscated two weeks ago - and a local businessman
fined 6.5 million riels (US$1,577.28) - for dredging sand in Stung Hav
district without permission from the Ministry of Water Resources.
"We have already fined him and stopped him doing business until he obtains the proper legal documents," he said.
confiscation of the vessels comes amid increasing sand mining activity
along the Kingdom's coastline, raising concerns about the impacts of
dredging the sea bed.
Kev Wa, executive director of Environmental
Watch and Protection in Cambodia, a Koh Kong-based watchdog, said that
"millions of tonnes" of sand had been pulled out of the sea in recent
months, citing the possible impacts on "fish species, sea grass and