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Marine Log

February 1, 2007

Pollution fine for Vietnam repair yard

If you thought that Far East shipyards don't have to comply with environmental regulations, think again.

Vietnam News recently reported that the central province of Khanh Hoa has decided to fine the Hyundai-Vinashin Shipyard for its violation of Vietnam's Law on Environment.

Hyundai-Vinashin will have to pay VND 85 million (US$5,300), for its discharge of used copper slag particles into the surrounding environment during the process of ship repair. The act has caused pollution in neighboring hamlets.

Though the fine may seem small compared with U.S. and European penalties, it must be borne in mind that per capita income in Vietnam is around US$630 a year.

A copper slag based product is used by the yard in surface preparation blasting. The shipyard has taken measures to tackle pollution that include building a storage unit to keep used blasting material and recycling it into road construction.

However, reports Vietnam News, "the measures have failed to pay off, as the volume of used [material] has mounted up day-by-day and the proper treatment now goes beyond the joint venture’s capacity."

In addition to paying the fine, Hyundai-Vinashin is also required to take further drastic measures to tackle the environmental issues and to compensate affected individuals and assist them in moving to new places.