Vietnamese Ship Accused of Not Paying for 5,000 Tons of Corn

Crew allegedly left  Sihanoukville port owing $20,000 for its cargo

A Vietnamese crew has been accused of leaving Sihanoukville Autonomous Port without paying for the 5,000 tons of corn it had loaded as cargo, leaving hundreds of farmers in the northwest of Cambodia empty-handed, a port official said.

May Marith, director of the harbor master department of PAS, said the Vietnamese-owned ship, called the Vien Dong 3, had been asked to drop its anchor two kilometers off the coast to make room at the port while payment was settled with the end purchaser, a Singaporean company called Aegis Capital. Instead of anchoring, the ship left the area on Feb 25, he said yesterday.

“We asked this ship to anchor outside the port because we wanted the ship to handle the debt,” he said. “If we kept this ship in the port other ships would not be able to dock.”

Mr Marith said he does not know who allowed the departure and in 30 years has never seen a similar case at the port.

“I was surprised by this activity,” he said.

Pen Sitha, deputy director of the port, said the port has contacted several neighboring countries to locate the vessel, including Singapore, the ship’s last known destination.

“We have filed a complaint to the Vietnamese consulate to find the ship,” he said, adding the ship owes the port $20,000 as well. “We want the ship to come back and face the court.”

Officials at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached.

Nhech Samithi, a lawyer for the corn farmers from Bat­tam­bang province and Pailin city, said Aegis Capital, which deals with commodities, had agreed to buy the corn.

“There are about 300 villagers filing a complaint,” he said.

Officials at Aegis Capital office in Singapore could not be reached for comment.


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