Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sihanoukville officials defend boat terminal

Sihanoukville officials defend boat terminal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A coastal area in Stung Hav district’s Tomnup Roloak commune is filled to build a major boat terminal. Supplied

Sihanoukville officials defend boat terminal

The Preah Sihanouk provincial authority on Wednesday defended its decision to let a private company build a major boat terminal at Village 4 in Stung Hav district’s Tomnup Roloak commune.

An environmental watchdog had earlier accused the provincial authority and the unidentified developer of illegally filling in the sea to make way for the terminal.

Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun told The Post on Wednesday that there had never been any major boat terminal in the province so the terminal, he said, is needed to meet the actual demand in the province.

“We want this type of development so the provincial authority would not reject the [company’s] request."

“The company just needs to fill out a proper application in accordance with the law. The firm is late in filing a legal application,” he said.

“The provincial authority supports the company’s development concept and investment proposal to develop the boat terminal and modernise it to serve the people,” he said.

In response to criticism that the firm had illegally filled in the sea, Saroeun said the authority had instructed the Stung Hav district governor to inspect the site and ask the developer to submit its legal applications.

“The provincial administration can accept the company’s request to pump water out of the area in order to lay the steel wire foundation in the sea, so the company needs to pump water out before it lays the concrete and steel wire foundation."

“After the construction finishes, it will restore the area by removing dirt used to block the waterway while laying the foundation. After that, everything will return to normal,” he said.

“The firm has signed a written contract promising to restore the area and remove the dirt after the foundation work finishes. I hope it will follow through with its promise,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min recently told The Post that he supported the terminal development after receiving a report from his officials who had inspected the site.

“The provincial authority supports the boat terminal development . . . There are thousands of boats that need a proper terminal. Regarding the legal issues, the company is preparing a proposal for submission,” he said.

Stung Hav district governor Chhay Sokunda, who had inspected the site, said the company had only submitted its request at the district level. He acknowledged that it had filled in the sea to block the waterway while laying the foundation.

“The company said it needed a steel foundation in the water so it had to dump dirt into the sea to block the water route before constructing the foundation. Once the foundation work is completed, the firm will remove the dirt from the sea,” he said.

Sok Sokhom, the director of the NGO Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), which has been observing beach and coastal violation in the province, said on Wednesday he was disappointed with the provincial hall’s decision to let the company fill in the beach.

Sokhom shared pictures on social media showing the company dumping dirt into the sea.

“Filling in beaches is now a common practice. I ask the government and relevant institutions to halt the practice and take action in accordance with the law."

“The dirt was dumped deeper into the sea, and the authority had not stopped it. It said it was for boat terminal development, but I haven’t seen any development that matches the development site. They just keep dumping dirt,” he said.

Sokhom said only national-level officials can stop the practice. “The coastal area is state public property. No one has the right to dump dirt into the sea. Only the government can turn state public property into state private property for investment,” he said.

A local resident who only gave his name as Poch told The Post that the terminal owner kept dumping dirt far deeper into the sea.

“Before, the terminal site did not link to the sea, but now they dumped dirt far deeper into the sea, about 70m. I’m concerned this will cause a problem for local villagers,” he said.

Under the purview of the National Committee for the Management and Development of the Coastal Zone, the law requires construction to take place at least 100m or more from the coast.


  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting