Vietnam signed an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to borrow 36.63 billion yen ($348.2 million) to build six patrol vessels, amid rising tensions in the South China Sea. Vietnam will borrow 36.6 billion yen ($348.66 million) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to build six patrol boats. The patrol boats, planned to be delivered to the Coast Guard by October 2025, will be designed to strengthen law enforcement and maritime rescue operations and ensure security, maritime safety and freedom of navigation in Vietnam,The Project will contribute to the achievement of SDGs Goals 14 and 16 and the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Viet Nam is a narrow, long country lying along a north/south axis with a long coastline. There has been an increasing risk of maritime accidents in recent years due to, (i) an increase in fishery activities and freight transportation, and (ii) a rise in natural disasters in the form of Typhoons in summer and tidal waves in the monsoon season. In addition, there has been a rising risk of maritime crimes including smuggling and piracy. This project will provide the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) with financing to procure vessels, supporting an improvement in maritime rescue operations and maritime law enforcement. It will also enhance freedom of navigation.
Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) will apply to the Japanese ODA loan for this project, and Japanese shipbuilding technologies will be utilized. STEP refers to special assistance terms for promoting the visibility of Japanese aid through a transfer of outstanding Japanese technology and expertise to developing nations. The main contract is Japan tied and subcontracting is general untied. The main agreement partner must generally be a Japanese company, an overseas subsidiary of a Japanese company, or a joint venture between a Japanese company and the borrowing country where the Japanese company is the lead partner.
According to Navalnews, the class of vessel selected by the VCG has not been officially announced yet but it is reported that will likely be based on the Aso-class, a class of 79 meters patrol vessels in use by the Japan Coast Guard. These patrol vessels have a high speed (over 30 knots) thanks to powerful diesel power plants and four waterjets. They are fitted with a 40mm main gun and four water cannons. The crew complement is 30 sailors. The JCG has three vessels of the Aso-class. JICA aalso signed similar agreements for the construction of patrol ships and boats for the Philippine Coast Guard in Japan under the joint Japanese-Philippine Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) program.