Vietnam's Coast Guard receives six US patrol boats

By VnExpress   May 23, 2017 | 09:51 am GMT+7
Vietnam's Coast Guard receives six US patrol boats
Members of the U.S. embassy and Vietnam's Coast Guard at the handover ceremony in Quang Nam Province on Monday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Hanoi

The boats will help Vietnam in intercoastal patrols and law enforcement.

The U.S. embassy has officially transferred six 45-foot Metal Shark patrol boats to the Vietnam Coast Guard on Monday, a moved hailed as an important step in expanding security cooperation between the two countries.

The boat delivery comes when developments at the South China Sea, or the East Sea as referred to by Hanoi, have become more complicated with China's construction of military infrastructures on its artificial islands in the disputed waters nearing completion.

The patrol boats, delivered to the Vietnamese maritime police force in the central province of Quang Nam, are meant to help the coast guards conduct patrols and combat smuggling, piracy and illegal fishing, the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

Training would begin after the transfer and the boats will be operated immediately.

“Vietnam’s future prosperity depends upon a stable and peaceful maritime environment," Ambassador Ted Osius said at the handover ceremony. "The United States and the rest of the international community also benefit from regional stability.” 

Vietnam and the U.S. signed an MOU on defense cooperation in September 2011. The White House said in May 2016 it would provide Vietnam with 18 Metal Shark 45-foot patrol boats, as well as training and maritime law enforcement equipment.

China has unilaterally imposed a ban on fishing in the East Sea from May 1 to August 16, a move Vietnam has protested