The purchase of the boats partly show the both sides` efforts to tighten military ties agreed upon the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation.
The US Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Karl L. Schultz. Photo: Thehill
Vietnam Coast Guard will be equipped with additional 24 Metal Shark boats from the US in a latest move to enhance its naval capabilities amid escalating tensions in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea).
“There’s a foreign military sales case where they’re going to purchase 24 Metal Shark boats, small boats to support Vietnamese Coast Guard operations,” the US Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Karl L. Schultz, said at a teleconference on October 21.
This is part of efforts of the US Coast Guard to “build out the Vietnamese Coast Guard and its capabilities and capacities”, the admiral said, giving no specific time of the transfer.
Earlier in March, the US Embassy in Hanoi officially handed over six 45-foot Metal Shark patrol boats to the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) Region III in the central province of Khanh Hoa.
This transfer includes six brand-new fast-response Metal Shark boats–capable of reaching up to 35 knots–along with trailers and spare parts estimated to be worth approximately US$12 million.
The vessels are in addition to another twelve “Metal Shark” patrol boats and a high-endurance cutter provided to Vietnam by the US in the last two years, according to Reuters.
Vietnam Coast Guard Region 3 Metal Shark boat underway. Photo: The US Embassy in Hanoi
“Delivering these patrol vessels represents deepening US-Vietnam cooperation in the areas of maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and maritime humanitarian assistance operations within Vietnam’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone,” the embassy said in a statement.
The US Embassy coordinates US-Vietnam security cooperation activities on behalf of the US Indo-Pacific Command to advance common defense goals and interests.
This cooperation, as agreed upon in the September 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation, includes security assistance and educational exchanges between the US and Vietnamese militaries, according to the US embassy.
The US and Vietnam signed a contract for the US Coast Guard to help train Vietnam Coast Guard beginning in 2009. Accordingly, the US Coast Guard kicked off its partnership program with the Vietnam Coast Guard under the Export Control and Related Border Security program by conducting two sessions of the Maritime Law Enforcement Boarding Officer course in Hai Phong and Phu Quoc in October 2009.
This was the first US Coast Guard engagement with the Vietnam Coast Guard under their new partnership program. Its positive results bode well for future co-operation between the two forces. Hanoitimes
Vietnam Coast Guard has established bilateral and multilateral relations as well as a hotline with law enforcement forces from 20 countries in the region and the world.
For the past years, the Vietnam Coast Guard has always accomplished its mission successfully, contributing to firmly protecting the sovereignty, national security, safety and order in national waters.