Two foreign ships fined for smuggling diesel off Vietnam coast, fuel seized

By Dac Thanh   June 13, 2018 | 12:24 am PT
Two foreign ships fined for smuggling diesel off Vietnam coast, fuel seized
Vietnam's coast guards tow a Singapore ship for illegal fuel smuggling. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Coast Guard
Fuel smuggling rampant along coastal provinces with international ports, Defense Ministry says.

Two foreign boats caught smuggling diesel oil in waters off the Vietnamese coast have been fined and the fuel confiscated.

Vietnam’s coast guard said Tuesday that the boats, one registered in Singapore and another unnamed one with a Chinese captain, were fined a total of VND137 million ($6,000) for the smuggling attempt.

Two months ago, coast guard forces in the central province of Quang Nam spotted the Singaporean ship carrying around five million liters of diesel oil without proper papers. They caught the ship transferring the fuel to an unnamed vessel with a Chinese captain around 45 nautical miles northeast of Vietnam’s central coast.

The Singapore registered ship, Pacific Ocean, was also carrying 17 crew members without identity papers when it was captured. Its captain could not produce legal documentation for the cargo.

The captain and crew of Pacific Ocean told coast guards that they’d received the nod from Far East Shipping & Trading Pte Ltd to pump the fuel to the unnamed vessel.

All the fuel that was seized at the time of inspection was auctioned and proceeds of VND57 billion paid into the state budget, officers said.

According to the coast guard, this was the second time a Singaporean ship had been caught for fuel smuggling in Vietnamese waters.

The Ministry of Defense has said that fuel smuggling is common along coastal provinces with international harbors like the northern Quang Ninh Province and Hai Phong and the southern province of Vung Tau.

Between 2013 and 2015, Vietnamese forces seized about 21.3 million tons of illegal fuel, contributing more than VND270 billion ($12.1 million) to the state budget.

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