One worker died and another was injured after a component of a sand-dredging vessel unexpectedly “exploded” during a dredging operation in the Sesan River in Ratanakkiri’s Malik commune on Saturday.
According to Andong Meas district police chief So Vanthin, 51-year-old Chinese national Guo Guangbin was killed and 60-year-old Vietnamese national Chreung Se was injured in what he termed an explosion – the cause of which is as yet unknown – that happened during a dredging operation organised by Reaksmey Mongkul Investment.
“When Guo was manoeuvring the vessel . . . he tried to prevent it from hitting a pillar [ahead]. He tried to control the machine but it exploded,” Vanthin said, failing to explain what exactly caused the explosion. “A dislodged piece of the machine hit the [two victims].”
While a reporter yesterday obtained a document signed by the Mines and Energy Ministry in May authorising the company’s dredging activities, ministry spokesman Meng Saktheara yesterday said no such licence had been issued.
“The picture of the equipment [shows] . . . equipment used for extraction, and we have never issued a licence for it to operate in water,” he said. “We have instructed officers to investigate and look into who issued the licence. At the moment, we cannot be sure whether it’s legal . . . it might have operated illegally.”
Representatives of the company could not be reached.