Jul 24, 2021 / 21:48

CBS 8021, Hamilton-class vessel docks at homeport in Vietnam

This is the second US Hamilton-class ship donated by the US government.

CBS 8021, a US-decommissioned Hamilton-class cutter has arrived at a port in Vietnam where it will continue the mission.

CBS 8021, departs Apra Harbor, Guam, on its last leg home to Vietnam. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi 

The arrival of the ship, which is Vietnam Coast Guard’s second high-endurance cutter given by the US government, happened “earlier this month”, the US Embassy in Hanoi said, giving no specific time.

“The US government donated this ship to exemplify the strong maritime security cooperation between the two countries and to help ensure a rules-based order in the East Sea,” it said in a statement.

Senator Maria Cantwell said “For nearly five decades, Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, officers, and crews have served the Coast Guard’s missions including search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, drug interdictions, and disaster relief,”. “Just last month, the former cutter Midgett – the final member of the Coast Guard’s endurance fleet to be decommissioned – set off from its homeport of Seattle to its new home as part of the Vietnam Coast Guard fleet.”

CBS 8021

CSB 8021 (formerly John Midgett) left its former homeport of Seattle, Washington, on June 1, 2021, after the 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 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.

Bilateral defense ties

According to the US Department of State, the US and Vietnam are committed to strengthening defense cooperation 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, settling 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 US National Security Strategy, the 2018 US National Defense Strategy, and the 2019 Indo-Pacific Report.