Vietnam Coast Guard

Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG; Vietnamese: Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam, lit."Sea police of Vietnam") is the coast guard of Vietnam. It is a branch of Vietnam's military, the Vietnam People's Army, and falls under the management of the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence. Since its creation in the late 1990s, the Vietnam Coast Guard plays an important role in maintaining sea security and protection of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf boundary. It has dispatched forces in waters in overlapping areas between Vietnam and foreign countries, providing protection and assistance to local fishermen when necessary. In addition, the Vietnam Coast Guard perform search and rescue duties, along with their duties of combating and preventing smuggling, piracy, and trade fraud in Vietnamese waters.

Vietnam Coast Guard
Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam
Seal of the Vietnam Coast Guard
Active28 August 1998 – present
Country Vietnam
Allegiance Communist Party of Vietnam[1]
TypeCoastal defence force
RoleVietnam maritime law enforcement, patrol, border control, search and rescue, coastal defence
Part of Vietnam People's Army
HeadquartersHanoi, Vietnam
Colours             Blue, White, Orange
Anniversaries28 August
Fleet49 Patrol boat
3 offshore patrol vessel
6 Transport vessels
5 Salvage tug
4 search and rescue ship
EngagementsMT Zafirah hijacking
MT Orkim Harmony hijacking
Commander-in-ChiefNguyễn Phú Trọng
CommanderNguyễn Văn Sơn
Political CommissarLieutenant General Hoàng Văn Đồng
Chief of StaffMajor General Phạm Kim Hậu
Racing stripe
Aircraft flown
Patrol3 x CASA C-212 Aviocar


The Vietnam Coast Guard was first set up through President Tran Duc Luong's order No 3-L/CTN (7 April 1998), announcing the Ordinance on the Vietnam Coast Guard, which had been accepted by The Tenth National Assembly of Vietnam on 28 March 1998.[2]

Previously, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam did not have a dedicated Coast Guard; the Navy had been used for offshore patrol and related military activity, along with the Border Patrol Directorate (Bộ Tư Lệnh Biên Phòng), which had checkpoints in estuarine and littoral areas. These bodies were equipped with small boats for short pursuit and related equipment intended for short-term security applications. All river patrol responsibility belongs to the Fluvial Police (Cục Cảnh sát giao thông đường thủy - Bureau code:C25), supervised by provincial and/or local police office (Ministry of Public Safety - Bộ Công An), and sometimes to the Vietnam Customs (Hải Quan), depending on the particular geographical responsibility (fluvial or fresh water only).

The Vietnam Coast Guard became independent from the Vietnam People's Navy on 1 March 2008. It has in-scope intelligence based on international exchange and co-operation with its ASEAN counterparts in smuggling and on-sea drug interdiction operations. As an organisation established to fight against illegal trafficking, it was keen to start with a fresh image, equipped with adequate technology and hardware, to deploy efficiently for its various specific missions. The current organisational pattern will serve as a role model for future extended projects.


  • Develop and maintain operational capability to ensure national maritime sovereignty.
  • Be recognised by the nation as the guardian of maritime security.
  • Become the foremost maritime security agency in South East Asia.
  • Develop and improve the ability to respond to maritime search and rescue requirements throughout the area of responsibility.
  • Develop and improve the ability to preserve and protect the maritime environment.
  • Continually improve the organisation and operation of the agency.


In its internal waters, territorial waters, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, the Vietnam Coast Guard has a mission to patrol and enforce laws in accordance with those of Vietnam and international treaties concerned. Vietnam is a contracting member on agreements (such as The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)) on defending sovereignty, jurisdiction, protection of natural resources, prevention of environmental pollution; detecting, preventing and combating acts of smuggling; piracy, trafficking, and transporting illegal narcotics. Besides, the Vietnam Coast Guard has a mission to patrol all the seas in the Southeast Asia region to protect freedom of navigation on the seas.

The Vietnam Coast Guard is responsible in co-operating with functional agencies to complete its mission. If any incident happens at sea, the Vietnam Coast Guard has the responsibility to inform to the functional agencies and co-ordinate with foreign countries to settle the issue. Lt. General Phạm Đức Lĩnh said in The 7th Heads of Asia Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM - 7) on July 2011: "The Vietnam Coast Guard is used in overlapping sea areas between Vietnam and foreign countries. Local fishermen will be better protected and assisted if necessary, and we will remind local fishermen not to cross into the waters of foreign countries."[3] In October 2013 the VMP were transferred from the navy to the coast guard, apparently so as to qualify for Japanese equipment aid.[4]

The Vietnam Coast Guard is responsible for protecting the security of Vietnam's coast line and deals with problems like:

  • Drug smuggling
  • Human trafficking
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Industrial radioactive and toxic waste dumping
  • Marine Environmental Protection
  • Surveillance of Illegal Operations by Foreign Fishing Vessels
  • Vietnam maritime law enforcement
  • Marine assistance
  • International Affairs
  • Search and rescue (SAR)
  • National defence - alongside the Vietnam People's Navy[2]

In addition to its role, the Vietnam Coast Guard has moved their headquarters from Hai Phong to Hanoi in February 2008, due to current needs to address these tasks. Current headquarters are located at 94 Le Loi Street, Nguyen Trai ward, Ha Dong district, Ha Noi. Their training base and logistic support facilities remain in Hai Phong.


Organisational system

1. Coast Guard Command[5]

2. Units in Coast Guard Department:

  • Regional Coast Guard: similar with Regional Navy. In the structure of Regional Navy have fleets, flotillas and Marine police teams;
  • Coast Guard fleets;
  • No.1 and No.2 Reconnaissance base;
  • No.1,2,3, and 4 Anti-drugs, Anti-crime Task base;
  • Center of Coast Guard Information;
  • Center of Coast Guard Training.

Regional Coast Guard

  • 1st Regional Coast Guard: managed from Ka Long River, Quang Ninh Province to Con Co island, Quang Tri Province. Based in Hai Phong;
  • 2nd Regional Coast Guard: managed from Con Co island, Quang Tri to Xanh islet, Binh Dinh Province and South China Sea. Based in Quang Nam Province;
  • 3rd Regional Coast Guard: managed from Xanh islet, Binh Dinh to Dinh An harbour, Tra Vinh Province and South China Sea. Based in Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province;
  • 4th Regional Coast Guard: managed from Dinh An harbour, Tra Vinh to Ha Tien, Kien Giang Province and the Gulf of Thailand. Based in Ca Mau.

International co-operation

The Vietnam Coast Guard and Philippine Coast Guard have signed an agreement to set up a hotline in principle. In the near future, both will draft detailed regulations on prompt co-ordination, if a situation at sea occurs.[6]

On 14 July 2012, Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Kōichirō Genba and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh had a meeting in Hanoi. The Japan Coast Guard is willing to help Vietnam bolster its coastal patrol capabilities, include setup of operations and training its personnel.[7]

The Vietnam Coast Guard plans to be equipped with modern facilities to effectively carry out their tasks to maintain security, order, and safety in the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone with the close co-operation with regional coast guards of regional countries.[8] To solve issues such as piracy, smuggling, trade fraud and transportation of persons, illegal drugs, disaster search and rescue, the Vietnam Coast Guard collaborates with several countries for networking exercises.


A contract was signed between Vietnam and the United States for the United States Coast Guard to help train Vietnam Coast Guard beginning in 2009. The United States 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, 12–23 October 2009. This was the first United States 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. The training courses received a great deal of attention from the Vietnam Coast Guard leadership, as well as the Ministry of Defence (Vietnam), with senior representatives from MOD both attending the opening and closing ceremonies, and hosting farewell lunches and dinners. The Vietnam Coast Guard leadership's recommendations for future training will not only be very useful for planning purposes, but represent clear signals that they are eager for further co-operation. Continuing the partnership plan, the United States Coast Guard has invited one VMP officer to attend the 15-week International Maritime Officer Course starting in March 2010 at the United States Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia.[9]

The Vietnam Coast Guard has also cooperated with the Dutch Damen Group to build large vessels under Dutch license in Vietnam by companies including Song Thu company and 189 company. Vessels that have been completed include one offshore patrol vessel (9014), one hydrographic survey vessel (6613), and four salvage tugs.[10]

In 2008, the Vietnam Coast Guard received three ocean sentry CASA C-212 Aviocar - Series 400 turboprop aircraft equipped with MSS 6000 systems from Airbus Military.[11]

The Vietnamese government has planned to invest in upgrading facilities for the force, including modern ships which can operate in bad weather and stay for longer periods at sea. Furthermore, the force is also equipped with helicopters to enhance its operations at the border of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam to protect its territorial waters and Vietnamese fishermen. This is especially important with the ongoing disputes over sovereignty in and around Vietnamese waters.[6][8]


The Vietnam Coast Guard's vessels are equipped with specialised functions (almost all Vietnam Coast Guard's vessels are self-produced):

  • To engage in coastal patrol and protection, using vessels from 120 to 400 tons, numbered beginning with 00, 10, 20, 30, and so on;
  • To support search and rescue, using vessels from 1000 to 2000 tons, numbered beginning with 600 numbers;
  • To conduct offshore patrols, using vessels over 2500 tons with helicopters on deck, numbered beginning with 800 numbers;
  • To conduct search and rescue operations, using vessels designated with SAR or 900 numbers.

Almost all of the Vietnam Coast Guard's vessels start with the naming designation CSB (abbreviated by Vietnamese words: Cảnh Sát Biển - Coast Guard).

Ships (93 in service)
Photo Type Builder Role Quantity Name
DN 4000
4000 tons
 Vietnam Patrol (2) Two ships on order.[12]
DN 2000 (Damen 9014 class)
2500 tons
 Vietnam Patrol 4[13] CSB-8001, CSB-8002, CSB-8004, CSB-8005
Hamilton-class cutter
3250 tons
 United States Patrol 1 CSB-8020
(former USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC-722))
Offshore patrol
1500 tons
 South Korea Patrol 1 CSB-8003
Offshore patrol vessel
1200 tons
 Vietnam Patrol 2 CSB-6006, CSB-6007
1500 tons
 Vietnam Patrol (8) Eight ships on order
400 tons
 Vietnam Patrol 9 CSB-4031, CSB-4032, CSB-4033, CSB-4034, CSB-4035, CSB-4036, CSB-4037, CSB-4038, CSB-4039
200 tons
 Vietnam Patrol 14 CSB-2001, CSB-2002, CSB-2003, CSB-2004, CSB-2005, CSB-2006, CSB-2007, CSB-2008, CSB-2009, CSB-2010, CSB-2011, CSB-2012, CSB-2013, CSB-2014
120 tons
 Vietnam Patrol 14 CSB 001,CSB-1011,CSB 1012, CSB 1013, CSB 1014, CSB-3001, CSB-3002, CSB-3003, CSB-3004, CSB-3005, CSB-3006, CSB-3007, CSB-3008, CSB-3009
Shershen class
148 tons
 Soviet Union Patrol 4 CSB-5011, CSB-5012, CSB-5013, CSB-5014
398 tons
 Vietnam Patrol/Search and rescue 2 CSB-6008, CSB-6009
Teshio class (Natsui class)
600 tons
 Japan Patrol/Transport 5 CSB-6001, CSB-6002, CSB-6003, CSB-6004, CSB-6005
Patrol boat
280 tons
 South Korea Patrol 2 CSB-2015, CSB-2016
High-Speed Patrol boat MS50S  Vietnam Patrol 26 CSB-426, CSB-427, CSB-603, CSB-604, CSB-605, CSB-606, CSB-607, CSB-608, CSB-609, CSB-610, CSB-611, CSB-612, CSB-613, CSB-614, CSB-615, CSB-616, CSB-617, CSB-618, CSB-619, CSB-620, CSB-621, CSB-622, CSB-623, CSB-624, CSB-625, CSB-626
Metal Shark 45 Defiant  United States Patrol 18 CSB-701, CSB-702, CSB-703, CSB-704, CSB-705, CSB-706, CSB-707, CSB-708, CSB-709, CSB-710, CSB-711, CSB-712, CSB-713, CSB-714, CSB-715, CSB-716, CSB-717, CSB-718
Search and rescue 6 Six ships on order
Damen Salvage tug
1400 tons
Search and rescue 5 CSB-9001, CSB-9002, CSB-9003, CSB-9004, CSB-9005
Damen Stan 4100 patrol vessel  Netherlands Search and rescue 3 SAR-411, SAR-412, SAR-413
2900 tons
 Vietnam Replenishment/Transport 1 CSB-7011
Aircraft (2 in service)
Photo Type Builder Role Quantity Name
CASA C-212 Aviocar series 400  Spain Patrol 2 (One was lost during a crash while searching for a Su-30 fighter.)[14] 8981, 8982

Table of Ranks

The Coast Guard does not use naval or maritime ranks. Unlike the Vietnam People's Navy, the Coast Guard does not use sleeve and cuff rank insignia for officers.

Flag OfficersField Grade OfficersCompany Grade Officers
Trung tướngThiếu tướngĐại táThượng tá Trung táThiếu táĐại úyThượng úyTrung úyThiếu úy
Lieutenant GeneralMajor GeneralSenior ColonelColonelLieutenant ColonelMajorCaptainLieutenantSub-lieutenantEnsign
Officer cadetNCOsSeamen
Học viên Sĩ quanThượng sĩTrung sĩHạ sĩBinh nhấtBinh nhì
Officer CadetSergeant MajorSergeantCorporalSeaman First ClassSeaman

See also


  1. "Oath of Honor". 1970. Retrieved 31 October 2015. To sacrifice himself undeservedly for the fatherland, fight for the cause of national independence and socialism, under the leadership of the Vietnam Workers Party...
  2. "Pháp Lệnh Lực Lượng Cảnh Sát Biển Việt Nam". Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  3. "Vietnam Marine Police Force to be equipped with modern vehicles". Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  4. Sasaki, Manabu; Makino, Yoshihiro (2 June 2014). "Japan Coast Guard vessels and equipment in high demand in S.E. Asia, Africa". THE ASAHI SHIMBUN. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  5. "Cảnh sát biển đảm bảo an ninh vùng biển Việt Nam - Báo Khoa học Đời Sống Online, 21/10/2009 20:05:44". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  6. "Cảnh sát Biển VN nâng phạm vi hoạt động - Tiền Phong Online". Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  8. "Vietnam Marine Police Force's international cooperation strengthened - Quân đội nhân dân". Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  9. "Cable Viewer". Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  11. "Airbus Military delivers coast guard airplane to Vietnam - Airbus Military delivers coast guard airplane to Vietnam". Saigon Times Online. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
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