Vietnam’s law enforcement forces at sea will be permitted to use weapons to push away any foreign ships that illegally enter the country’s waters, a new government decree says. The central government on September 3 issued Decree No. 71/2015 adopting regulations on managing activities of people and vehicles in sea border areas of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Under the decree that will take effect on October 10, 2015, law enforcement forces at sea are entitled to expel foreign ships encroaching on Vietnamese waters. Such expulsion can be carried out continuously until the encroaching vessels leave the Vietnamese waters, the decree says. When competent Vietnamese forces have used signals to request encroaching vessels to stop for inspections but they neglect the request, the commander of the force dealing with the violating ships has the right to use weapons or support tools to drive such ships out of Vietnam’s waters. During the process of such expulsion, Vietnamese law enforcers have the right to mobilize people and vessels of state agencies, organizations and individuals operating nearby as support forces, except for ships of foreign organizations and individuals that are given relevant exemption or preferential treatment by the laws of Vietnam, according to the decree.
The commanders of such forces must be responsible to the law for their decisions. The decree provides for ten acts that are strictly banned from being done in Vietnamese waters without prior permission. Among these acts are conducting maritime research, survey, exploration and exploitation activities; building or installing works or equipment that can be detrimental to marine safety in Vietnamese waters; and organizing drills in any forms that feature many kinds of weapons. The decree also provides for cases in which the prime minister makes a decision on setting up temporarily banned areas or zones where operations are restricted in Vietnamese waters.