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In Bid to Renew Coral, Biodiversity, Cambodian Navy Makes Use of Old Shipping Containers

A shipping container was dropped in the coast of Sihanoukville to create artificial coral reefs. (Courtesy of National Committee For Maritime Security)

The project hopes to create better marine environment and to protect coral reefs.

Two disused shipping containers were dumped in the waters off the island of Koh Rong Sanloem last Saturday in an effort to create a better marine environment and protect coral reefs, a navy official said.

Tea Sokha, the son of navy commander Tea Vinh and nephew of defense minister Tea Banh, who led the project, told VOA Khmer that the containers were placed in the ocean to encourage the growth of coral, which has been damaged by fishing off Cambodia’s southern coast.

He said coral had been artificially placed on the containers in the hope it would provide food and shelter to other marine wildlife.

“Some fishermen do not understand how coral works. They drag [fishing nets] that affect the coral reef. On the other hand, [we] dropped the containers to preserve some [marine] lives. We also planted coral reefs on the containers, which will become a shelter for marine lives and coral reefs,” he said.

He added that a large boat would also be sunk into the water off the island, a popular diving spot for tourists, in an attempt to repair the damage done by fishing.

“Yes, there will be boat ... that the fish could get in and live there,” he said, adding that as well as protecting the area’s biodiversity, officials hoped the move would encourage tourism.

“We’ll drop [them] where it works and where it could also attract tourists who like to come and dive in the sea, so they could see [marine lives] easily.”

Yun Min, Preah Sihanouk provincial governor, appealed to fishermen to “help protect our sea.”