Local fishermen are worried over the survey to be made by Total Myanmar and SIEMENS Myanmar Group for constructing a 1230 megawatts liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline in 2021.

The survey will be conducted starting from September 15 and it will take 2 months to complete the survey.

Three projects, one each in Kan Pauk in Tanintharyi Region, Mee Laung Gaing in Ayeyarwady Region, and Ahlone in Yangon Region, will involve LNG imports, while the fourth, in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, will be for natural gas. It is the first time the government has allowed the importing of LNG into Myanmar.

To enable LNG imports, French oil company Total, together with German conglomerate Siemens, will build an LNG facility with 1,230MW power capacity in Kan Pauk.

For the project, vessel carrying LNG will have to dock at Heinze island over 10 miles away from the beach. Through pipelines, LNG from the vessel will be transported to power plant in Kan Pauk. The company said it will take 2 months to fully complete the survey and that 2 months period is deemed too long for locals.

As the fish nets for drifting method of fishing depend on flow of water. The LNG project has caused fishermen difficulties in fishing. Locals asked what measures the company and respective departments will implement to ease their anxiety when they met on September 17.

“There are about 100 to 150 fishing boats that gathers in the survey area in summer. Daily average income for about 70 boats is Ks 50 million in fishing season. According to the statement made by Nay Pyi Taw Department of Fishery, if fishing will be prevented for the survey for 2 months, we will be in great trouble. If there is no income, how can we survive?,” said Tin San, a local man doing fishery business from Min Seik village.

On September 2, State owned newspapers announced that no fishing area on point R01 to Point R15 and places to take platform simple by survey vessel Victoria 8 from September 15 to November 15. To avoid delay while carrying out survey, 5 miles distance from the survey area was set as a no fishing or travel zone.

While State owned newspapers announced that restricted areas will be imposed, authorities has reportedly made no warnings to fishermen and locals, leading them in the dark. Locals later then found out, requested explanations. Some officers from Total came and met with locals.

The company officials have explained that while the announcement has prevented fishing, only some areas are needed for surveying. Locals pleaded to for some negotiations with respective department but company officials reportedly gave no specific details and replied that they will submit their concerns to their superiors, according to local fishermen.

“The main thing is that fishermen are worried over the announcement made by government that prevents fishing. They asked whether our company could negotiate over this matter. We have no immediate answers for that question. We only discussed how the survey will play out and as to not to get into conflict with local fishermen while doing the survey. Damamin jetty is not in the survey area and so there is no problem there,” said Aung Zaw Win, liaison officer of Kan Pauk electric project of Total Company.

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