Newly-built, poor-quality steel fishing boats in the central coastal province of Bình Định await fixing at the Quy Nhon Fishing Port (Photo: VNA)
 

 HCM City (VNA) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has ordered 27 coastal provinces across the country to examine the building of new steel fishing boats, under PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s request.

The move comes after the media reported that there are mistakes made in the implementation of a decree, leading to poor quality fishing vessels built under the policy. Worst still, a number of boats did not qualify for fishing offshore.

Speaking at a recent meeting, MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the ministry would examine all ship manufacturing under the 2014 Government decree on policies for the development of the fisheries sector.

Under Decree 67 (dated July 7, 2014), ship owners building steel or new-material ships with total main engine capacity between 400CV and 800CV can borrow from commercial banks a sum of money which does not exceed 90 percent of the total investment in the building of the ships.

The interest rate is 7 percent per year, of which ship owners are required to pay 2 percent per year while the State budget would subsidise 5 percent.

Many fishermen who received loans from commercial banks to buy steel ships built under the decree are reported to have complained about the poor quality of these ships, saying they continued to face malfunctions and repairs.

Recent examinations by authorities of the central province of Binh Dinh have found some ships faced frequent breakdowns and deterioration.

The ministry would also review, adjust and supplement standards and criteria relating to steel and wood-hulled fishing ships or ships built with new materials to ensure their quality and safety when operating offshore.

In addition, local authorities have been asked to increase supervision and inspection of the construction and upgrade of fishing ships under the decree in their localities.

Fishermen in the central coastal province of Binh Dinh who received the loans from commercial banks to buy steel ships are continuing to confront boat malfunctions.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are currently 771 new steel fishing ships being built under the decree, most of which are in good condition.

There are only 18 substandard steel fishing ships, of which 13 were built by Nam Trieu One Member Ltd Company and five built by Dai Nguyen Duong Shipbuilding Company, according to the ministry.

According to the recent examination by the Binh Dinh province’s agriculture department, the ships have been found to suffer from frequent breakdowns and degradation.

In particular, main engines in nine ships built by Nam Trieu company were broken while the power supply machines in three other ships are working on and off.

Tran Minh Vuong of the central province of Binh Dinh, owner of the fishing ship BĐ 99027 TS, said he had a contract with the Dai Nguyen Duong Shipbuilding Company, to build his steel fishing boat for 15 billion VND (660,000 USD).

Under the contract, the materials to build the ship would be made in Japan or the Republic of Korea, but actually they were made in China, Vuong said.  

The ship first went out to sea last July. But on the first trip, the freezer storage malfunctioned, and the ship had to turn back to shore before it could catch any fish.

Vuong was among those eligible for a loan from commercial banks to build steel ships under the decree.

Similarly, Nguyen Van Manh, also of Binh Dinh province and owner of a fishing ship built under the same conditions at a cost of 15 billion VND, complained about the quality of the ship, which was built by the same shipbuilding company.

On the three times that the ship sailed out, it went from having a broken screw to a broken wheel and flooded storage, Manh said.

However, a representative of the Dai Nguyen Duong Shipbuilding Company, who asked not to be identified, blamed the fishermen for the ships’ degradation.

He says the ship owners do not follow maintenance procedures properly, which require ships to undertake maintenance after every sea trip, not every six months like wood-built ships.

The ministry said it will report the results of the inspection of the building of new steel fishing boats to the PM by the end of this month.-VNA