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Questions linger over second accused ship

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A ship, Ocean Beauty, believed to be exporting silica sand, is photographed in April off of Sihanoukville. Ly Raksmey/Mother Nature Cambodia

Questions linger over second accused ship

A second ship accused by the NGO Mother Nature of illegally exporting dredged ocean sand last week is expected to arrive at a port in China today with a cargo of silica sand, which is exempt from the ban, the ship’s owner said yesterday.

However, questions remained as to whether the Ministry of Mines and Energy had granted approval for the export.

Max Liu, with the business department at the Taiwan-based Mingtai Navigation Co Ltd, which owns the vessel, said the ship, Ocean Beauty, had been in Cambodia from April 26 through May 2, and was carrying about 35,000 tonnes of silica sand. It’s expected to arrive at the Port of Taicang today.

According to an internal letter from the Mines Ministry to Cambodia’s shipping regulator, silica sand is not subject to a November ban on sand exports. Only the Mong Reththy Group and Silica Services Cambodge are licensed to export silica.

Liu, however, identified the company exporting the sand aboard the Ocean Beauty as Global Trend Inc.

Dith Tina, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines, declined yesterday to answer any questions regarding Ocean Beauty, and would only discuss another ship accused of illegally exporting sand by Mother Nature, the Deryoung Sunflower.

That ship was also carrying silica sand, and the ministry insisted it had a permit for the export, though it declined to release it.

Nonetheless, Tina characterised the accusations against the Deryoung Sunflower as “not a scoop, but rather a scandal for Mother Nature themselves”.

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