The crews of 26 people from Cambodia and Thailand aboard three boats were caught last week for transferring diesel oil off Vietnam’s southern coast.
Coast guard officials in southern Vietnam have seized more than 1.2 million liters of diesel oil that three foreign boats with Thais and Cambodians crews were smuggling into Vietnam, the coast guard force said.
The boats carrying 18 Cambodians and eight Thai nationals were caught transferring the fuel to a Vietnamese fishing boat around 80 nautical miles southeast of Vietnam’s Ca Mau last Friday.
They tried to flee after spotting the coast guards but were captured after several hours of chase.
None of them could produce legal documents for the fuel. The crews are still under arrest and subject to cash fines.
According to Vietnamese coast guards, the country’s police force in charge of sea patrol, fuel smuggling has been rife in Vietnam’s southwestern waters bordering Thailand since 2015, due in part to a gap between selling prices in Vietnam and neighboring countries.
Last December, Vietnam’s coast guards caught a Thai ship with 1.3 million liters of undocumented gasoline.
Between March and July last year, at least four others were caught with nearly one million liters of illegal diesel.