Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Wrongdoings in building steel fishing vessels that made them fail to operate have affected the Government’s policy to develop a modern fishing fleet in service of offshore fishing and the nation’s sea sovereignty defence, and responsibilities will be clarified, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

The Minister was grilled by National Assembly deputies about the failure of several steel fishing vessels after operating in a short time during the question and answer (Q&A) session as part of the ongoing third meeting of the 14th NA in Hanoi on June 13.

Cuong said in accordance with the government’s policy of strengthening resources for shipbuilding to raise seafood output and defend Vietnam’s sea sovereignty, the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Finance, Planning and Investment have worked closely with the State Bank of Vietnam to fine-tune documents to instruct fishermen to build new, modern fishing vessels.

As a result, 234 facilities have been qualified to build vessels in 28 localities nationwide.

So far, up to 666 iron, wood, and composite vessels out of the total 2,284 have been built nationwide, 297 of which have 800-horsepower engines and above used for offshore fishing.

Fishermen in many localities have improved their income thanks to the project, according to the minister.

Apart from achievements, a number of fishing vessels in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Phu Yen suffered failures.

Two vessels in Phu Yen experiencing minor damage were repaired and put into use.

Meanwhile, 19 others, built by Dai Nguyen Duong and Nam Trieu companies, suffered failures in engines and steel coat.

Upon hearing about the incidents, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has promptly asked 27 cities and provinces to check if new vessels are working properly, Cuong explained.

Representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries also held a working session with Binh Dinh provincial authorities, fishermen and shipbuilders to clarify responsibilities of parties concerned.

Cuong said the MARD also held a conference in Binh Dinh, to which leaders of 27 cities and provinces, shipbuilders, fishermen and experts were invited, to seek solutions to the issue.

Accordingly, Dai Nguyen Duong and Nam Trieu companies will replace failed engines and ​steel hulls with new ones. They will also be responsible for fishermen’s income losses as vessels with broken engines were unable to go fishing.

Binh Dinh also established an independent inspection team and asked public security forces to investigate the cause of 19 fishing vessels’ failures.

The MARD has also actively worked with Binh Dinh authorities to speed up the working progress of the inspection team and relevant units, so that a report could be submitted to the Prime Minister in late July, Minister Cuong said.-VNA