HA NOI — Cam Ranh Port in central Khanh Hoa Province would open the country's first maritime service centre, to provide services for both domestic and foreign ships, said Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh yesterday.
The centre will provide professional repair and maintenance services for both commercial and navy ships. It will also act as a fuelling station and shelter in bad weather. Facilities including stores and shops will be opened for passing crews on shore leave to make use of.
To enter the port, foreign ships would need to obtain a permit from Vietnamese authorities and a business contract with the Vietnamese side, said Thanh.
The service centre will be located in a separate area to the Vietnamese navy. It will be designed to handle small and medium-scale repairs. "Major repairs should be carried out in the country of origin to ensure the best possible quality. We will not be able to carry out larger repairs especially on more advanced ships such as aircraft carriers and submarines although they will still be able to dock at the facility," Thanh said.
According to the minister, the Government was considering hiring Russian experts to help build the service centre. "We are in the early stages of planning. It will take several years to complete the centre," he said.
Cam Ranh Port is around 300km north of HCM City and has the advantage of being located in a deep water bay which allows large ships to dock. Thanh said it was also close to many international shipping lanes. During the American war, the USA used it as a military port and after, Russia signed a 25-year agreement with Viet Nam for its use. Thanh however reasserted that Viet Nam would not lease the port to other countries to establish navy bases. — VNS