Stay alert for smuggling minerals at sea


The Coast Guard checked the ship that was transporting about 75,000 liters of DO oil without vouchers.
The Coast Guard checked the ship that was transporting about 75,000 liters of DO oil without vouchers.

Complexity from North to South

In the first ten months of 2021, the situation of crime in general, as well as smuggling and trade fraud at sea in particular, was a serious issue. A representative of the Coast Guard Command said that the smugglers operate with many different methods. In the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin at present, the main cases are trade fraud, inland illegal trading and transport of goods. Notably, they focus on mineral products (mainly low-heat coal) and petroleum.

In particular, the suspects who took advantage of the State’s permission on exporting the backlogged ore in mines that had been exploited but could not be sold in the country to purchase and exploit at unlicensed mines or legalize input invoices to carry out mineral export procedures.

There are many types of minerals that must be assessed to determine the content and purity of minerals, so the suspects often mix refined minerals with raw minerals, minerals with high content mix with low mineral content to avoid the control of authorities; intentionally declaring incorrect value and content of minerals in order to evade taxes.

On August 29, after inspecting a ship transporting about 1,300 tons of smuggled coal on the Lo River, competent forces discovered a line trading and transporting coal of unknown origin from Quang Ninh to other provinces in the country for consumption. Through the investigation, the competent force found that some suspects had established family companies and under the cover of a rich man who was trading mutant orchids. Twelve suspects had exploited and bought coal of unknown origin, gathered illegally or purchased and sold invoices to legalize the origin of coal. The case has been prosecuted.

According to a representative of the Law and Professional Affairs Department of Vietnam Coast Guard, from the cases handled by the competent forces, it was clear that coal and mineral products were officially traded in the Northeast region, then purchased under lump sum without legal documents; erasing and rotating invoices to avoid the authorities.

Smuggling and illegal transportation of petroleum in large quantities also tends to increase in the Southern Sea. Since the beginning of the year, more than 10 cases of smuggling petroleum have been detected and handled.

On October 19, about 115 nautical miles southeast of Con Dao, the Command Coast Guard Region 3 inspected ship BT 99998 TS owned by Le Minh Tinh, residing in Khanh Hung commune, Tran Van Thoi district, Ca Mau province as captain. Through inspection and the captain’s testimony, the ship was transporting about 75,000 liters of DO oil, without invoices and documents proving the origin of the goods.

According to the Coast Guard, in order to avoid the control of competent forces, when committing violations, the suspects often gathered in the sea far away from the border which was in the overlapping area between Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. In case of being chased, vessels could easily move to foreign waters to avoid pursuit. Besides that, the use of small boats that often changed ship numbers, pretending to be aquatic logistics service ships is also being used to transport illegal goods at sea.

Firmly handle violations

It is forecast that in the future, the price of petroleum products in the country and abroad will differ, so the demand for illegal petrol and oil will increase. Faced with that situation, the Coast Guard has increased patrols, inspections and control in key sea areas; synchronously implementing solutions to effectively coordinate with competent forces in preventing and combating crimes of smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal transport of goods at sea.

The Coast Guard will actively develop and implement a plan to communicate and disseminate the Vietnam Coast Guard Law to people and fishermen at sea.

From there, people will understand more about the state management by law in the sea and islands, raising awareness; strengthening and consolidating the army-people solidarity, improving the effectiveness of the fight against smuggling and trade fraud, the representative of the Department of Professional Affairs and Law said.

In addition, the Coast Guard will also regularly coordinate closely with the forces: Border Guard, Police, Customs, to actively exchange information, promptly detect, arrest and control and strictly handle smugglers.


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