Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Taiwan-bound vessel’s sand ‘exempt from ban’

Taiwan-bound vessel’s sand ‘exempt from ban’

A ship called Deryoung Sunflower was spotted loading sand in late April off the coast of Sihanoukville. LY RAKSMEY/MOTHER NATURE
A ship called Deryoung Sunflower was spotted loading sand in late April off the coast of Sihanoukville. Ly Raksmey/Mother Nature

Taiwan-bound vessel’s sand ‘exempt from ban’

Taiwan officials yesterday confirmed that a ship by the name of Deryoung Sunflower – a vessel that this week appeared in a viral video released by NGO Mother Nature claiming that it was loaded with sand for export despite a ban – is expected to arrive today at Taiwan’s Port of Taichung.

However, the officials said, the ship is actually carrying silica sand, which the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy says is not subject to the ban.

Irene Tang, of the Port of Taichung, told The Post that the ship’s last registered port is in Cambodia and that it was carrying silica sand. The Post could not confirm what kind of sand a second ship, identified by Mother Nature as being named Ocean Beauty, was carrying.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy last November banned sand exports after controversy arose from huge discrepancies between Cambodia’s recorded sand exports and Singapore’s recorded sand imports from the Kingdom.

In the video, which the group said was taken on April 29, Mother Nature showed the Deryoung Sunflower being loaded with white sand.

Meng Saktheara, spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said after the video was released that it was “very likely” the ship was loaded with silica sand, which is exempt from the ban. Silica sand is mined on land, he added, rather than pumped from the sea, and is used for industrial purposes like for making glass.

Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, a founder of Mother Nature, said that when the government banned sand exports it made “no allusion whatsoever to exceptions” to the ban.

“For them to now say that silica sand can continue being exported is nothing but a pathetic lie that no one is going to believe,” he wrote in an email.

When asked what led Mother Nature to believe sea sand was being loaded on the ship, he called distinction between types of sand “totally irrelevant”.

He added his NGO would continue its investigation into whether dredged sea sand was still being illegally exported.

Ministry officials declined to comment yesterday, but said the ministry will release the findings of its investigation into the case today.

Two companies – Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd and Silica Services Cambodge – are licensed and had recent approval for exports of silica sand, although the locations of departure and the names of the boats did not match those of Ocean Beauty and the Deryoung Sunflower.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be