Vietnamese province asks to stop dredging with sand exported to Singapore

Vietnamese province asks to stop dredging sea passage on Phu Quoc Island
TUOI TRE NEWS 10 Dec 15;

Officials in Kien Giang Province have proposed a stop to the dredging of sea passages and to the export of sand at a military harbor on Phu Quoc Island, saying it causes erosion at a nearby beach.

According to a report by Phu Quoc authorities, the sand dredging has ‘eaten away’ a kilometer of beach on the island and poses a risk that the situation may worsen.

Kien Giang is a province in the Mekong Delta and Phuc Quoc is one of its districts.

Authorities of the Mekong Delta province said that they have multiple construction projects underway on Phu Quoc and the projects need sand for leveling.

The province has sent a written proposal to the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Vietnam People’s Navy.

The military port in An Thoi Town belongs to the armed services of the navy’s fifth zone, covering the waters of the Mekong Delta in the southern part of Vietnam.

Dredging passages for the port and exporting sand to Singapore are part of a project approved by the Ministry of Defense and carried out by the navy since 2010.

The High Command of the fifth zone had signed contracts with two Vietnamese companies, Duc Long and Hai Viet, to implement the project.

Sand pumped onto the 58,000-ton ship Ocean Colossus of Singaporean nationality is exported at US$1.3 per cubic meter. So far, the giant ship has made four trips to carry sand to Singapore.

Responding to the proposal of Kien Giang, Admiral Doan Van So – commander of the fifth zone – said that dredging the sea passages is urgent and necessary for military activities.

However, the navy already terminated the contracts with the two companies in the middle of November over their breaching them, he added.

Denying erosion has been caused by the dredging work, the fifth zone said it had checked the scene and passed the buck to climate change leading to a change in underwater currents.

Admiral So added that dredging sea passages on Phu Quoc and exporting sand can only be paused or terminated at the request of the High Command of the Vietnam People’s Navy.

Kien Giang demands Phu Quoc dredging stop
Le Hung Vong Vietnam News 14 Dec 15;

Kien Giang Province authorities have urged the Ministry of Natural Re-sources and Environment and Navy to stop the export of sand mined by dredging Naval Port Zone 5 in Phu Quoc Island and then to stop the dredging itself since it caused erosion along the coast.

In a dispatch to the Kien Giang administration, the People's Committee of Phu Quoc Island said the dredging of the channel into the military port has eroded around a kilometre of coast, destroying many trees and posing a further threat of erosion.

The dredging is being done by Duc Long Ltd and Hai Viet JSC.

The work, which began in mid-2010, was suspended soon afterwards following a ban on export of sand by the Government in June 2010.

However, the Government exempted the project contractors, allowing them to continue exporting sand.

Last week four large ferries carried sand from Phu Quoc to the Singapore-flagged Ocean Colossus.

Thus far more than 230,000 tonnes of sand have been transported to Singapore.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted a source from the Kien Giang administration as saying that Duc Long and Hai Viet have dredged the passage and exported sand, but have yet to report how much they sold or pay the fees prescribed for excavating mineral resources.

Meanwhile, many construction projects are under way on Phu Quoc Island, many licensed by the Government, and they require huge volumes of sand for ground levelling.

In a dispatch to the Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Navy, the Kien Giang People's Committee urged them to suspend the exports and use the sand for the construction works in Phu Quoc.

It also called for suspending the dredging and taking urgent measures to stop the coastal erosion.

But in a reply, Rear Admiral Doan Van So, Commander of Naval Force Zone 5, said dredging the passage was "imperative and urgent" for military purposes.

Duc Long and Hai Viet had violated clauses in the contracts and so in mid-November this year Naval Force Zone 5 cancelled them, he said.

He claimed the erosion was caused by the impact of climate change and changes in the water flow rather than the dredging.

He also said any decision to call off the work can only be made by the Navy High Command and not his unit. HCM City has 246 safe food selling points