Final negotiations between 19 fishermen and the two companies involved in a steel ship damage case in the central province of Bình Định would take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.— Photo — nld.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — Final negotiations between 19 fishermen and the two companies involved in a steel ship damage case in the central province of Bình Định would take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The information was released at a press conference held by the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday, focusing on compensation paid to local fishermen following damage to their new fishing vessels built in accordance with the Government’s Decree 67. Issued in 2014, the decree aims to support fishermen and fisheries development by providing financial support for fishermen to purchase or build larger boats.
Late last year, the 19 fishing families sent a proposal to the agriculture department requesting the two ship-building companies of Nam Triệu and Đại Nguyên Dương to pay VNĐ45.6 billion (more than US$2 million) worth of compensation.
According to the fishermen, the compensation includes the costs of repair, hiring of labourers, towing vessels, damaged seafood, profits lost and principal and interest payments to banks.
“If both sides fail to reach a deal, the province will provide legal assistance to help the fishermen institute legal proceedings against the two companies within a month as of April 2,” Director of Bình Định Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Phan Trọng Hổ told the press conference.
The fishermen claimed that their steel ships built in line with the decree were installed with unbranded devices and machines so they had not operated properly and effectively, Vietnam News Agency reported. Since the ships stayed inactive for over a year, the companies have not taken prompt measures to maintain and repair the facilities.
A number of meetings have been organised since then by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development discussing the compensation and support for the ship owners.
During these meetings, both companies denied any responsibility for compensation beyond a small amount of money paid for the repairs of damage, Vietnam News Agency reported. Đại Nguyên Dương Company argued that the five fishermen’s request for compensation was baseless whereas Nam Triệu Company said they had no responsibility for compensating the 14 fishermen.
Authorities in the central province of Quảng Ngãi have made it clear that fishing vessels illegally encroaching on a foreign country’s sea area will have their operation licence revoked forever.
The highest level of punishment is applied for the owner and captain of ships that go fishing illegally in a foreign country’s waters, according to the Government’s news portal www.baochinhphu.vn.
Additionally, any repeat offender will be subjected to legal proceedings, along with organisations and individuals involved in taking Vietnamese vessels and fishermen out for illegally fishing in a foreign sea area.
Local authorities also required vessels to be installed with a monitoring system which must be turned on whenever the ship departs to ensure a smooth connection is made with competent bodies on shore.
Deputy head of Quảng Ngãi Fisheries Division Phùng Đình Toàn said no case of fishing activities beyond Việt Nam’s sovereign waters was detected in the past few months. — VNS