Foreign Ministry speaks out on seizure of Vietnamese ship in Tanzania
Ha Noi, Nov. 19 (VNA) - Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry's West Asia-Africa Department Nguyen Van Doan granted an interview to the Viet Nam News Agency on Tanzania's seizure of Viet Nam's Can Gio ship. The following is the full text of the interview:
Q: The Can Gio ship of Viet Nam's Sea Saigon Shipping Company (SSS) has been held by the Tanzanian side since July 27, 2004, causing a heavy loss of over 500,000 USD. Would you please tell us about Viet Nam's viewpoint on the case and what Viet Nam has done to secure the release of the ship?
A: The case resulted from a commercial dispute relating to a trading contract of 6,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice between Tanzania's Mohammed Enterprises and Tien Giang province's Thanh Hoa Co.Ltd. Accordingly, this issue should be solved by the two companies and concerned parties.
However, under the Mohammed Enterprises company's pressure, Tanzania's Supreme Court ordered the seizure of the Can Gio ship of the SSS which has nothing do with the above-mentioned dispute, and at the same time considered the Vietnamese Government as a defendant in the case.
Right after Tanzania's seizure of the ship (on July 27, 2004), the Vietnamese embassy in Tanzania met repeatedly Tanzanian agencies and the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic note to its Tanzanian counterpart on the case. Viet Nam's Foreign Minister and Trade Minister also raised the issue while receiving the Tanzanian Trade Minister during his recent visit to Viet Nam. Recently, the Prime Minister of Viet Nam sent a letter to the Tanzanian President, asking for a satisfactory resolution to the case in accordance with international law and the interest of the relationship between the two countries.
Viet Nam’s viewpoint is that the Tanzanian court’s seizure of the Can Gio ship and its consideration of Viet Nam as defendant in the trade dispute is groundless, and runs counter to international law and practice.
At present, 12 sailors of the ship remain in Tanzania. They have regularly visited the Vietnamese Embassy, expressed their wish to return to Viet Nam together with their ship as soon as possible. The Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and relevant agencies of Viet Nam in collaboration with its Embassy in Tanzania are working actively with the Tanzanian side to quickly resolve the Can Gio ship case satisfactorily.
Q: On November 16, 2004, the BBC radio broadcast its interview with Julam Dewji, Chairman of the Mohammed Enterprises' Board of Management, who said that they were displeased that they were forced to take the ship seizure measure in order to resolve the issue. Do your have any comments on this explanation?
A: It was an extremely irresponsible statement and was an entirely arbitrary act of Mohammed Enterprises and the Tanzanian Court.
As I have said, this is a trade dispute, which should be resolved directly by related sides - the Mohammed Enterprises of Tanzania and the Thanh Hoa Co. Ltd. of Viet Nam. The Vietnamese Government will instruct the appropriate sides of Viet Nam to co-ordinate with those of Tanzania to settle this dispute soon.