Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dredging boats spotted off Koh Kong



Dredging boats spotted off Koh Kong

Dredging boats were spotted off the coast of Koh Kong province, prompting concerns they may begin operating in spite of a ban on coastal dredging. Photo Supplied
Dredging boats were spotted off the coast of Koh Kong province, prompting concerns they may begin operating in spite of a ban on coastal dredging. Photo supplied

Dredging boats spotted off Koh Kong

An activist and villagers yesterday said that sand dredging boats had been spotted off the coast of Koh Kong, prompting fears that they were set to begin operations, despite a standing ban on sand exports from companies operating in coastal areas.

The dredging vessels were spotted in the vicinity of a sand-processing facility currently under construction in the province, and in an area where two companies were given approval to conduct environmental impact assessments for sand dredging projects.

Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, a co-founder of NGO Mother Nature, said that his organisation had heard on Saturday that a crane, used for extracting sand, was being fixed at the facility under construction, and that a boat, used to transport sand, had anchored there as well.

Mut Sopha, a community representative from Koh Salao village in Koh Kong district, said after hearing similar information from other villagers, she went to the site yesterday and saw the sand dredging equipment and the boat stationed there.

However, she added, she did not see any sand dredging activities taking place when she was at the site during the day.

“We have a lot of concern if they really start dredging activities,” she said. “It affects the community nearby . . . When they start washing the sand, [the] water will get dirty and [will] kill life in the water.”

A dredging boat spotted is suspected of conducting sand dredging activities at night by villagers yesterday in Koh Kong province. Photo supplied
A dredging boat spotted is suspected of conducting sand dredging activities at night by villagers yesterday in Koh Kong province. Photo supplied

She also noted that dredging could destroy nearby mangrove forests.

Sopha said on December 6, 2016, Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem promised local villagers that there would no longer be any sand dredging in Koh Kong.

Last year, the Mines Ministry temporarily suspended sand exports after controversy erupted over the discrepancy between the $5 million of sand exports to Singapore that Cambodia had recorded from 2007 to 2015, and the $752 million that the city-state had recorded as imports from the Kingdom.

Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said he was abroad, but didn’t believe the ministry was aware of this new activity. He said he would ask the provincial Department of Mines and Energy to check the case.

“Any sand dredging operation in the area will face legal actions,” he said.

Udom Seima Peanich Industry & Mine Co Ltd and SCTWN Development Co Ltd – the companies that were given approval by authorities, including the Ministry of Environment, to conduct EIAs for sand dredging projects in Koh Kong’s Trapaing Roung and Tatay Krom communes – didn’t respond to request for comment or couldn’t be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he