In the first half of the year, operations to retrieve and dispose of unexploded ordnance from a sunken warship in the Mekong River have succeeded in removing more than 1,200 items.

More than 200 tonnes of explosive remnants of war have been recovered from the vessel, which was sunk in Prey Veng province’s Peam Chor district, said the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC).

CMAC general director Heng Ratana told BTV on August 2 that the recovery operations – which are taking place near Koh Peam Raing – began in early 2022, at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng. Several entities are involved in the work, including the Ministry of National Defence.

Ratana explained that preliminary research indicated that 2,500 additional UXOs remained beneath the river. It was estimated that the clearance would take 18 months, but difficult conditions meant the timeframe had been extended.

According to Ratana, when it sank, the vessel weas carrying between 3,000 to 3,500 tonnes of explosive ordnance.