Customs in the vast and endless sea

VCN - After many appointments, we had an opportunity to visit Con Dao Customs in the last days of the year. Con Dao is full of wind at this time, welcoming us in the golden sunshine and the deep blue sea.
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Con Dao Customs officers take care of martyrs’ graves at Hang Duong martyrs’ cemetery. Photo: D.NGUYEN

Upon arriving in Con Dao, we were accompanied by officials of Con Dao Customs Department (Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department) to visit Hang Duong martyrs' cemetery to burn incense and clean the heroic martyrs’ graves, the children of the Fatherland, who courageously sacrificed for apeaceful country. On a sunny afternoon, Le TrungThang, Director of Con Dao Customs Sub-Department said: “As a Customs unit in the sacred land of the country, every cadre and civil servant of Con Dao Customs Sub-Department always pays attention to overcoming difficulties and distance with the mainland to fulfill their assigned tasks.”At present, Con Dao Customs Sub-Department has more than 10cadres and civil servants; most of them are from the mainland and go to the island to cling to fulfill their duties.

Young civil servant Dang QuocQuyensaid: " it would be true if we siad that we were not sad" because most of us are far from our families and the mainland. Moreover, although life on the island has improved a lot, we face many difficulties. Many essential goods are sent from the mainland and entertaining activities after working hours are limited. Sometimes we yearn for the mainland but we encourage each other to complete the assigned tasks. In difficulty, we are proud because we are customs officers in aspecial land of the country.”

Leaving Hang Duong martyrs’ cemetery, we along with Con Dao Customs officers went to the port to patrol with the Con Dao Border Guard Station. In the midst of the sea and the vast sky, ship surfed majestically. We shot the camera repeatedly in pride when the patrol boat spedout to sea. Amidthe sound of the wind, the sound of the waves, someone was singing “the place I come is far seas, the place I arrive is far islands, from our homeland, in vast ocean, with love from homes.”On the wharf, Bui Dinh Tai, Deputy Director of Con Dao Customs Sub-Department said: “Since establishment, although the goods imported and exported through Ben Dam port have not been much, Con Dao Customs Branch has always been ready to meet procedural requirements for import and export goods, ensuring customs clearance of goods, including goods imported by combined transportation. We set meetings with businesses in the area to capture their information and demandsforimport and export of goods. As a result, in 2019, the branch’s budget revenue exceeded VND300 million.”

At the same time, the Sub-Department has coordinated with Border Guards, Local Guards, Police, Market Management unit, Coast Guard and Patrol Navy to protect the security and sovereignty of the sea and island borders, as well as to promptly detect, arrest and handle violations of the customs legislation in their localities. In 2019, the Sub-Department patrolled more than 70 times at sea and on land, maintaining the security of the remote island.

In particular, in the vast and endless sea, Con Dao Customs Branch as well as other forces area solid rear for fishermen and people on the island when there are storms. In the typhoon No. 16 (called Tembin) in 2017, Con Dao Customs Branch welcomed and assisted more than1,000 fishermen to avoid storms at its office. Thosewere the Con Dao Customs officials’ unforgettable hard days that each customs officer has contributed to supporting fishermen in the sea, responding to natural disasters and storms.

Our conversation only ended when sunset fell on the remote island. Fishing boats began to light as eyes protecting the island. That night we gathered around the canteen at Con Dao Customs Branch headquarters. The headquartershadjust been opened; it is spacious and modern but quite far from the centreof Con Dao town. For a long time, all officers have had opportunities to have dinner together, to share the joys and sorrows in life and work. Director General Le TrungThang said due to the characteristics of the island and the small number of officers, they were allowed to take turns to visit their family, go to meetings, and join training courses according to the department's programmes, so it is rareto have all the faces in the dinner today. Job and life stories were shared by the brothers, memories of the days on remote islands are unforgettable memories of those who have lived and worked in Con Dao.

By Dang Nguyen/ Ha Thanh

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