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Jun 12, 2021 / 05:49

2nd US Hamilton-class cutter on way to Vietnam

The vessel is transferred to Vietnam under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program that offers excess military equipment to US partner and allied countries.

A former US Coast Guard ship is on its way to Vietnam, making it the 2nd vessel of the Hamilton-class cutter given to the Vietnam Coast Guard by the US government.

 Vietnam and US officers in Honolulu on June 8. Photos: US Embassy in Hanoi 

CSB 8021 (formerly John Midgett) left its former homeport of Seattle, Washington, on June 1, 2021, after completion of outfitting and crew training, according to the US Embassy in Hanoi. 

It was officially transferred in August 2020 and the US Coast Guard has offered maintenance since November 2020 to make the ship ready to serve in the Vietnam Coast Guard.

The vessel and transfer support worth US$27 million in grant security assistance for CSB8021 and US$24 million for CSB 8020 in 2017 were sourced from the US foreign military financing.

The two vessels were transferred to Vietnam under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. The EDA offers excess military equipment to US partners and allied countries in support of military and security modernization efforts.

The Hamilton-class cutter was the largest class of vessel in the United States Coast Guard until replaced by the Legend-class cutter, aside from the Polar-class icebreaker.

The US Embassy, through its Office of Defense Cooperation, coordinates US-Vietnam security cooperation activities on behalf of the US Indo-Pacific Command to advance mutually beneficial defense goals and interests. Since 2011, the US has provided more than US$450 million in support of defense and security programs in Vietnam.

 CSB 8021 (formerly John Midgett). Photo: An Ninh Thu Do

According to the US Department of State, the US and Vietnam are committed to strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Bilateral Defense Cooperation in 2011 and the US-Vietnam Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations signed in 2015, giving priority to humanitarian cooperation, war legacy issues, maritime security, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In May 2016, the United States fully lifted its ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam and continued to provide Vietnam with maritime security assistance, including through the Maritime Security Initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, and Foreign Military Financing. The United States transferred Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutters to Vietnam in 2017 and 2020 to help improve Vietnam’s maritime law enforcement capabilities.

Vietnam has become increasingly important in US foreign policy as indicated in the 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy, the 2018 US National Defense Strategy, and the 2019 Indo-Pacific Report.

The US-Vietnam defense ties have also strengthened dramatically since 2014. In 2016, Obama lifted the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam during his visit to Hanoi. Since then, the US has helped Vietnam improve its maritime capability, including the transfer of a Hamilton-class cutter in 2017 and the delivery of 18 “Metal Shark” patrol boats in the following years.

Notably, the US Navy sent the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Vietnam’s Danang port in March 2018, the first after the end of the Vietnam War, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt in March 2020.