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Law on Vietnam Coast Guard sharp tool to enforce maritime laws

Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard came into effect on July 1, 2019, including 8 chapters, 41 articles regulating position, functions, tasks, powers, organization, and operation of the Vietnam Coast Guard; benefits and policies for the force; and responsibilities of relevant agencies, organizations, and individuals.

Law on Vietnam Coast Guard sharp tool to enforce maritime laws

Photo: VNA

Order is coming to the chaotic waves of the East Sea. The Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard was passed by the 14th Congress, the Vietnam Coast Guard reported to the Ministry of Defense. The ministry then consulted the government to issue a decree explaining in detail a number of articles and implementation measures. The defense ministry has issued a circular guiding the coast guard law's implementation and held a national training conference on the law. It also directed the army, especially the coast guard to develop specific action and implementation plans which are suitable to the functions and tasks of each agency and unit.

Vietnam's prime minister signed Decision No. 1059/QD-TTg on August 22, 2019, to approve a project to circulate the coast guard law from 2019 to 2023. The project aims to ensure that every citizen understands the party's guidelines, policies, and views on the management and protection of the country's seas and islands. It looks to educate all citizens about the law's basic content and raise citizens' awareness about sea and island management and protection. It yearns to build a revolutionary, professional, and modern coast guard force, highlighting the force's position, functions, tasks, powers in the new context.

The project plans to introduce other countries to a more comprehensive and precise look at Vietnam's policies to manage and protect the sea and islands, as well as a clearer view of the Vietnam Coast Guard, to form the image of Vietnam as a peace-loving country, a responsible member of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) who respects and strictly comply with international commitments and ready to join the international community to respond to common challenges, heading towards stability, peace, integration and sustainable development at the sea.

To effectively deploy the project, the defense ministry recently plans to hold a nationwide virtual contest with the theme of "Learning about the Law on Vietnam Coast Guard." The contest aims to promote spreading knowledge about the law and about the management and protection of the fatherland's sea and islands. Together with propagating the law, the contest raises citizens' awareness about their rights and responsibilities in managing and protecting the country's sea and islands, contributing to encourage Vietnamese both living in the country or abroad, to support, participate, coordinate, assist the Vietnam Coast Guard in performing its assigned functions, tasks and powers.

Maj. Gen. Bui Quoc Oai. (Photo: VNA)

Commenting on the law's implementation over the last two years, Maj. Gen. Bui Quoc Oai, Political Commissar of the Vietnam Coast Guard said the law has helped improve all-level authorities, sectors, and people’s awareness and legal consciousness about the state management over the country’s seas and islands by law, along with the force’s position, role, functions, and tasks. Notably, due to provisions on the force's apparatus, personnel, and equipment, positive and active moves have been made to build a modern, elite, lean, and strong Vietnam Coast Guard, helping the force to better perform in the new context.

Also according to Bui Quoc Oai, after two years of implementing the law, coordination between the coast guard and the army, as well as other agencies, unites, localities to safeguard the maritime sovereignty and enforcing the law at sea has been carried out more strictly and fruitfully. Relations between the force and law enforcement forces ofASEAN countries and countries whose sea areas are adjacent to Vietnam’s are developed in accordance with the Party and State’s viewpoints on defense diplomacy and national safeguarding. Communications have also been effectively enhanced to encourage people to form people-based security positions at sea, continuing to strengthen fishermen’s trust.

In the coming time, Vietnam Coast Guard High Command will further promote communication by holding workshops in the force's units and localities, helping the people gain better understandings of the law-based state management over the seas and islands. At the same time, the force will encourage people to join hands with the coast guard to well accomplish their missions of protecting national sovereignty and interest at sea, maintaining security, order, and safety for the country’s sacred sea and islands.

Located next to the sea, Vietnam has a sea area of more than 1 million, nearly 3,000 islands and archipelagoes, and a coastline over 3,260km long running through 28 provinces and cities. Many of those coastal cities have systems of ports, economic zones, tourism sites that are the gates to maintain economic, cultural, and tourism exchanges between Vietnam and regional and global countries.

Facing the complicated developments on the Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea), especially violations of the maritime sovereignty, smuggling, piracy, and fishing boats’ infringements of territorial waters, as well as the trend of international integration, the Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard has proved to be a “sharp tool” and the legal basis for the force to implement maritime law, contributing to manage and safeguard the country’s sovereignty, sovereign right, and jurisdiction, as well as guarantee order and safety in Vietnam’s maritime zones.

Valerie Mai

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