New degree on dredging to take effect in July, highlights environmental protection and facilitates port businesses

May 27, 2024 - 07:52
The document is set to take effect on July 5 this year.
Port businesses have said that dredging is essential to ensure a safe and deep channel for ships entering and exiting the dock. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Nhị

HÀ NỘI — A new decree on dredging at seaport waters and inland waterways has been approved, stressing compliance with the laws on environment protection and marine resources.

The document is set to take effect on July 5.

The decree states that if the dredged material is disposed of in an onshore area or location approved by the provincial-level People’s Committee, the project head investor, organisation or individual receiving the material does not need to follow regulations on natural resources and minerals.

If the dredging activity is assigned to an organisation or individual, the project head investor needs to report to the provincial-level People’s Committee for management.

They must also devise solutions to store or handle the dredged materials to ensure that no environmental pollution occurs in the surrounding area.

In the case of sea dumping, after the disposal is completed, the project head investor is responsible for reporting to the authorities regarding the disposal and environmental monitoring in the surrounding area.

In regard to the dredged material disposal locations, the provincial-level People’s Committee must publish the relevant information, including where it is scouting, not just at its headquarters but also on the local e-portal every year.

Applications to receive dredging materials can be sent to the provincial People’s Committee at the office, via the post or online public service system.

Regarding sea dumping, the People’s Committee will compile and announce the list of disposal locations, including the waters six nautical miles away from the shore, on its e-portal and at its headquarters.

Based on this list, investors can submit a request to the People’s Committee for approval of material disposal for their projects or construction sites, which must be issued within 30 days of request submission.

If the application is unsuccessful, the provincial People’s Committee must disclose the reasons for the request denial in a writing and notify the management of the disposal area of the decision.

In recent months, many businesses operating in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province’s seaports have been unhappy about their dredging activities being subjected to the same financial obligations of mineral mining.

These companies said annual dredging at the port waters is essential to seaport business operations, as this ensures a safe and deep transit for ships entering and exiting the dock.

They explained dredging is not mineral mining or a way of making additional profits outside their main operations, which means this type of dredging should not be subjected to the obligations as stated in the mineral law.

In an interview with the Giao thông (Transport) newspaper, a representative of the Việt Nam Seaports Association (VPA) said that this issue must be promptly addressed for seaport market development and economic growth.

“The high costs for disposal of dredged materials will push port businesses to find other ways for capital recovery.

“This will have a direct impact on other expenses, especially logistic costs, thereby affecting import-export businesses and the economy at large,” said the VPA representative. — VNS