Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities have warned tourist boat companies they will be shut down if they operate without legal permission or fail to join the tourist boat association.
The warning came after a meeting between provincial councillors, provincial authorities, representatives of the tourist boat association, and relevant institutions. The meeting concerned the operation of boats between Sihanoukville and its neighbouring islands, for the safety and legality of the operations.
Phai Bunvannak, the deputy provincial governor, said any boat company that did not have legal permission to run would be closed as of today.
“This policy will be implemented to safely operate boats for guests and to avoid unfair competition,” he said.
Provincial council member Kouch Chantha also asked boat company owners not to hide the number of passengers they carried, because excessive transportation can pose problems.
Toun Sam Ang, deputy director general of Buva Sea Cambodia, said his company supported the provincial authorities’ decision.
“I have to agree on this action, otherwise we cannot continue to operate. However, we ask authorities to help expand the port, create seating areas for tourists, clean the marine environment, and preserve the coral,” he said.
Other companies also agreed to join the association and to comply by the law, but face a delay of three to four days to get the full documents. They will be allowed to operate as soon as they are within their legal rights to do so.
According to provincial authorities, there are currently 18 boat companies transporting tourists to islands in Preah Sihanouk province.