Smuggling petroleum by sea is rising


Coastal Guard force inspects violated ship. Photo: Đức Định
Coast Guard force inspects the violated ship. Photo: Đức Định

Profiteering up to billions of dong

According to the assessment of the Command of Vietnam Coast Guard, recently, the situation of smuggling, trade fraud and illegal transport of goods tended to increase with complex developments, especially petroleum. Smugglers have formed many petroleum trafficking lines and organizations to operate on a large scale.

“Currently, the price of petroleum that is illegally traded at sea is lower than that legal petroleum inshore from VND3,000-4,500/liter (DO oil) and VND5,000-6,500/liter (petrol). If a shipment of 200,000 liters is successfully transported, the beneficiaries will gain about VND600-900 million for DO oil and VND1-1.3 billion for gasoline. Typically, the incident in the southern sea at the end of June 2022, the Coast Guard seized the HP-90979-TS ship due to transporting 500m3 of DO oil, worth nearly VND20 billion,” Colonel Vu Trung Kien, Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard, said.

The Coast Guard found that the methods and tricks of the suspects were very sophisticated and constantly changing, making the work of competent forces more difficult. Recently, there is an emergence of some domestic suspects connecting with foreign people to purchase petrol and oil at cheaper prices and reselling to make a profit.

Accordingly, at first, the suspects in Vietnam made a transaction with traders in Thailand, Cambodia, etc., and agreed on the price, location, time, delivery and payment methods, then they used the converted ships and hid to receive oil at predetermined coordinates, then bring it back and sell it to Vietnamese fishing boats.

The key areas are Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Thai Binh sea areas; the southern sea area of ​​Con Dao (bordering Indonesia, Malaysia); Southwest sea area (bordering Thailand, Cambodia). The instigator and leader stand behind to operate and use many different vehicles to commit violations. The subjects involved in smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal transportation of petrol and oil at sea are very diverse, with many components even including enterprises trading petrol and oil; individuals doing “underground” business, and fishermen on fishing boats.

From the cases discovered and handled by the Coast Guard, it is shown that the cases were often sophisticated with the value of goods up to many billions of dong, hence the subjects often hide very well.

Smugglers at sea were connected to deliver goods and money through intermediaries, operating in a closed manner. The delivery and receipt of gasoline and oil take place at sea, but the delivery and receipt of money take place on land; the recipient was another local and only communicated by phone using a “junk” sim, so it was difficult to identify the instigator and prove the smuggling.

Coordinating to share information

It is forecast that the situation of smuggling, trade fraud and illegal transport of goods will continue to be complicated. At the preliminary meeting of the first six months of the year of the National Steering Committees 389 taking place on August 4, Colonel Vu Trung Kien proposed that ministries, sectors, competent forces and localities needed to strengthen information exchange and sharing, coordinate in the fight to prevent smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal transport of goods in the areas.

The Coastal Guard force will closely coordinate with competent forces, committees and local authorities in exchanging information, fighting and handling cases. From the experience gained through the cases, the Coast Guard force has received consensus and actively participated in the coordination, especially the participation of the police. The people have provided a lot of information to help the Coast Guard handle many cases.

To further improve the effectiveness of the fight against smuggling and trade fraud, the Coast Guard has also diversified in dissemination and advocacy, including on the boats of fishermen who are far from shore. At the same time, distributing leaflets and communication on the methods and tricks of all kinds of subjects, the harmful effects of violations caused by the subjects to the economy and people’s lives.

Through the grassroots political system, local government committees, especially mass organizations, disseminate and encourage the people, communicate in schools, etc., to join hands to fight and prevent this situation.

In particular, continuing to disseminate the contents of the Law on Vietnam Coast Guard to fishermen so they clearly understand current policies, laws and regulations when operating and exploiting resources at sea.


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