09 Juni 2014
The CSBV is looking to equip its Damen 9014-class OPVs with helicopters to boost Vietnam's maritime surveillance capabilities. (photo : Damen)
Vietnam's highest legislative body, the National Assembly, has endorsed a VND16 trillion (USD747 million) plan to boost the country's maritime surveillance and defence capabilities.
The decision comes as Hanoi is engaged in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea.
The Assembly's Vice Speaker, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, announced the endorsement on 2 June and indicated that the funds will be channelled towards acquiring assets for the Vietnamese Coast Guard (Canh Sat Bien Vietnam: CSBV) and the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries.
IHS Jane's reported on 19 March that the CSBV is looking to acquire new naval helicopters for its DN 2000 (Damen 9014-class) offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and an unknown number of CASA C-212 Aviocar aircraft for maritime surveillance missions.
The country is also anticipating deliveries of decommissioned Japan Coast Guard (JCG) vessels in 2015.
Separately, the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that it filed a diplomatic note against China on 2 June to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The note protests the continued presence of the Chinese oil rig CNOOC 981 in an area that Vietnam claims to be within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf boundaries.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated since Hanoi accused a Chinese boat of ramming and sinking a Vietnamese fishing vessel not far from the rig's area of operations on 26 May.
"Vietnam earnestly demands that China immediately pull out the above-mentioned oil rig as well as the relevant vessels, equipment, and staff from the area which lies within Vietnam's continental shelf, and desist from similar actions," said the note.
Vietnam's ongoing confrontation with China has exposed the gap between the two countries in platforms and maritime resources, something the programmes included in this announcement aim to address.
In the meantime, Hanoi is looking to source second-hand platforms from friendly countries such as Japan and South Korea.
In August 2013, the CSBV took into service three ex-South Korean Maritime Police patrol vessels, including a 1,219 tonne Mazinger-class offshore patrol vessel and two 250-tonne Sea Wolf/Shark (Haeuri Mod B)-class patrol vessels.