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Import vessel scrap has its uses, but pollution is an issue

Update: June, 27/2015 - 09:34

Without advanced technology to avoid pollution, banning import of cargo vessels for scrap might not be a practical move, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Van Cong tells Viet Nam Plus

Will you please tell us about new re-visions to the Maritime Law on selling old cargo vessels for scrap?

The issue of selling old cargo vessels for scrap is already covered in the Law on Environment. Under that law, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) oversees the implementation of the regulations. In the meantime, the Government has already ratified the decree on scrapping old cargo vessels.

At present, the MoT has worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to compile instructions on procedures to grant permits allowing various entities to import old cargo ships for scrap.

In those instructions, the MoT will come up with strict measures to ensure a sound environment and conditions for any organisations or individuals interested in the business.

During a recent National Assembly discussion, some deputies suggested that Viet Nam should only sell old Vietnamese cargo vessels, not buy foreign ones and dismantle them, due to environmental concerns. What's your position on this?

Old Vietnamese cargo vessels are being dismantled every day here. However, until now we don't have any legal documents governing the protocol or procedures we need to ensure the environment is protected during the process.

This is the reason we proposed a decree on procedures and protocol for enterprises that are interested in the business.

However, we should put this issue into a broader context before we start to draft the decree. At present, Viet Nam has only a small fleet of old cargo vessels. And if the decree requires enterprises in this business to use advanced technology to avoid environmental pollution, it might be difficult to implement. That's why we have come up with a proposal to allow the import of used cargo vessels for dismantling. The scraps from old vessels will then become raw materials for our steel plants. At the same time, it will provide many jobs and benefit Viet Nam.

It is obvious that dismantling old cargo vessels will create pollution. But I hope we can limit the pollution by enacting strict procedures and protocols. Furthermore, the world's advanced technology can help avert environmental pollution and control it.

Some Vietnamese and foreign investors have expressed their interest in investing in our ports. Can you tell us about this?

I should say that maritime transport has captured a lot of attention from private investors, particularly in the areas of sea ports, warehouses and wharves, among others.

At present, the Government only invests in narrow harbour passages, sea dikes and maritime public utilities. That's why the MoT encourages investment from all economic sectors, including individuals, organisations or foreign entities.

Does the revised Maritime Law provide more favourable conditions for the private sector to take part in maritime development?

During the law-revision process, the compiling committee tried to ensure tight state management while creating favourable conditions for different economic sectors to take part in investment, construction and exploitation.

To achieve these goals, the MoT has instructed the writing of a proposal to attract private-public-partnership (PPP) investments in transport. For example, the maritime sector has developed a PPP proposal, calling for investment in maritime infrastructure development. — VNS

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