Vietnam needs modern vessels for investigating marine environment and its resources

Dr Nguyen Van Cu
Dr Nguyen Van Cu

Vietnam is a country with great potential of sea and islands. Vietnam’s coastline stretches across 3,260 km with more than 3000 islands and two archipelagos of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. Vietnam’s waters cover over one million square km. Vietnam’s sea and island play very important roles in the national, regional and global security and economic development.

Therefore, Vietnam needs to have modern vessels with professional researchers specializing in marine environment and its resources in order to contribute to the successful implementation of Vietnam’s Marine Strategy to 2020. Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Van Cu former General Director of the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands spoke to a reporter from Natural Resources and Environment Newspaper about this content.

Question: As a scientist and a general director of the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands for many years, how do you think of a critics that Vietnam is no need to build vessels worth of thousands trillion dong for investigating marine environment?

Answer: Each person has different perception and evaluation of a matter. My viewpoint is that Vietnam should equip modern vessels to investigate marine environment and its resources. It is necessary to investigate the extensive research resources of the marine environment for the sake of making appropriate policies on marine ecosystem protection and sustainable development.

Question: How have we developed shipbuilding projects for marine environment and its resources investigation?

Answer: “Basic Survey and Integrated management of marine resources until 2010 and vision to 2020″ Master Plan which was approved by the Prime Minister in Decision No. 2006 of 20 47/QD-TTg (phase 1 was implemented until 2011) consists of twenty projects, of which three projects build research vessels.

-Scientific and Technological Survey and International Cooperation Vessel has been assigned to Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in coordination with Ministry of Defense.

-Marine geology research vessel has been assigned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense​.

-Marine resources and biodiversity research vessel has been assigned to the Ministry of Fisheries (now the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) in collaboration with the relevant ministries.

By the end of 2011 we would have had three-mentioned vessels, if the project had been approved. However, because of global economy’s deterioration, national economy faces many difficulties, so that Prime Minister has directed to save funding. Three research vessels should be integrated into a multifunctional vessel which meet the technical specification of three above vessels and use the technical design of a vessel named Tran Dai Nghia built by the Ministry of Defense.

Under the direction of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has assigned the Vietnam General Administration of Sea and Islands to organize conferences in order to get consultations from national and international scientists, managers and professionals of the relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology (now Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology), Ministry of Planning and Investment. Receiving feedbacks from the scientists, managers and sectors, Vietnam General Administration of Sea and Islands has completed project proposal, the technical specifications for approval.

At the same time, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment has set up a negotiator team with Damen Shipyards Group (The Netherlands). Damen Shipyards Group is a multinational group with a lot of experience and capabilities in the specialized shipbuilding sector in the world. The Group has helped the Ministry of Defense build a surveying marine vessel named Academician Tran Dai Nghia. To implement the Ministry’s decision, the Vietnam General Administration of Sea and Islands had held three negotiations with the Damen Shipyards Group on specifications and equipments on the marine environment and its resources research and investigation vessel. Through negotiations, Vietnam along with the group’s experts have analyzed and evaluated technical systems and specifications of the vessel as well as the equipments which will be installed and feasibility when integrating equipments, the operation, exploitation, usage and maintenance. Vietnam has negotiated to make a discount that saved over two million euro (over VND 60 trilllion).

After the negotiations, Vietnam General Administration of Sea and Islands has perfected the project proposal and submitted to get opinions from the relevant ministries (Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology). After that, the Administration had completed the project and submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to get approval from the Prime Minister.

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Question: Sir, the project has been changed in the direction of saving however, have problems which appeared at the beginning been solved or not?

Answer: Multifunctional vessel does not mean “do well anything” but it only meets the basic objectives of the three vessels in the approved master plan N. 47. It is confirmed that the extremely difficult and complex task has been solved.

Recently I have heard that an article dealing with a matter that why we did not split into small vessels. The fact that we have small ships, at the moment we have two marine research ships but these ships do not meet the requirements of inspection and research the marine environment and its resources, particularly in the deep sea and offshore (up to4,000 meters deep) and operate in monsoon conditions.

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Question: Human resource for investigating the marine environment and its resources is also a concerned matter, what do you think about this matter?

Answer: Human resources are an important and urgent matter nowadays. We’re lack of a lot of qualified staff in this sector. But it does not mean that we do not have enough scientists who are able to master the modern research ship. Some Vietnamese scientists have been invited to be chief scientists on Russian and German modern research vessels.

Question: Up until now, the project has not yet been approved but has irrational information about the multifunctional vessel; do you believe that the project will soon be implemented?

Answer: I believe the project will be approved by the Government and implemented successfully in the future.

Thank you very much!

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