Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mekong wrecks cleared of UXOs

Mekong wrecks cleared of UXOs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CMAC officials on an operation to clear a sunken warship of unexploded ordnance (UXO), in southwestern Prey Veng province’s Peam Chor district on July 14. CMAC

Mekong wrecks cleared of UXOs

Underwater unexploded ordnance (UXO) operators have been expediting the removal of ammunition from warships which sank in the Mekong River at Peam Reang village and commune of Prey Veng province’s Peam Chor district, for the safety of residents in the area and despite encountering some challenges with the work.

Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on July 14 that despite those challenges, the underwater UXO remnants could not be left because they pose a risk to people’s safety and inhibit national economic development.

Ratana said that many of the challenges and obstacles inherent to underwater operations have been resolved, but these sites were still difficult to clear and the munitions found were still effective even after they had been buried under sand and water for more than 50 years.

“Removing ammunition from the warships that sank in the Mekong River is not as easy as extracting ammunition on land, because it is an area where the water is flowing and the munitions get buried in the sand. We have to pump out the sand using a technique for deflecting the strong flow of water, which is difficult. However, with great effort we are able to do it,” he said.

According to Ratana, the operations for extracting munitions from the warships that sunk in the river during the 1970-1975 civil war would continue until they are finished and the area is made completely safe for people, following the government’s policy of making sure the Kingdom is safe both on land and in the water.

Peam Chor district governor Seng Thea said he welcomed CMAC’s efforts and the help from the Ministry of National Defence in clearing munitions from the river so that people would not be afraid to go fishing or otherwise make use of the water.

“On behalf of the local government, I really appreciate CMAC’s attention and cooperation with the government, regardless of their fatigue and the difficulty in extracting UXOs from the river bottom, so that one day soon people here can go fishing without any worries,” he said.

On August 28, 2020, Prime Minister Hun Sen set up an inter-ministerial working group to study and solve cases of UXOs found in warships that sank in the river in Meanchey commune’s Veal village of Kampong Cham province’s Srei Santhor district.

After successfully clearing the Srei Sranthor location on January 26, 2021, the premier decided to increase the number of people assigned to the working group and expand its mission to extract underwater UXOs from some other areas, including Kandal province’s Lvea Em and Khsach Kandal districts and Prey Veng province’s Peam Chor and Peamro districts.


  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement