The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi announced on Monday the transfer last week of six Metal Shark patrol boats to the Vietnam Coast Guard Region III in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa.
The March 29 handover, including six brand-new fast-response Metal Shark boats–capable of reaching up to 35 knots–along with trailers and spare parts estimated to be worth approximately US$12 million, marked another important step in the continued security cooperation between the United States and Vietnam, according to the embassy.
“This official transfer at Region III Station at Van Phong Bay, the most central territory of Vietnam, is another milestone and evidence of the continued friendship between the U.S. and Vietnam,” said Colonel Nguyen Minh Khanh, vice commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard Region III.
Delivering these patrol vessels represents deepening U.S.-Vietnam cooperation in the areas of maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and maritime humanitarian assistance operations within Vietnam’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, according to the embassy.
These patrols boats will assist the Vietnam Coast Guard Region III in costal patrols and law enforcement to combat smuggling, illicit trafficking, piracy and armed robbery against ships, and illegal fishing.
The vessels are in addition to another twelve “Metal Shark” patrol boats and a high-endurance cutter provided to Vietnam by the United States in the last two years, according to Reuters.
The Metal Shark “45 Defiant” patrol boat is manufactured in the United States by Gravois Aluminium Boats LLC. It can reach speeds of up to 50 knots (93 km per hour) and is suited for both inland and offshore use, according to the manufacturer’s website.
The U.S. Embassy, through its Office of Defense Cooperation, coordinates U.S.-Vietnam security cooperation activities on behalf of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to advance common defense goals and interests.
This cooperation, as agreed upon in the September 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation, includes security assistance and educational exchanges between the U.S. and Vietnamese militaries.