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Regulations on the Vietnam Coast Guard’s use of weapons and professional technical means and equipment

The Vietnam Coast Guard operates in complex maritime zones characterzied by challenges, particularly intensified territorial disputes and crimes in the East Sea. In order to fulfil its role as a key and specialized force in law enforcement at sea, the Vietnam Coast Guard is allowed to use weapons, explosives, supporting tools, professional technical means and equipment in accordance with statutory regulations.

Regarding use of weapons, explosives and supporting tools, Article 14 of the 2018 Law on Vietnam Coast Guard stipulates that:

  1. When performing their tasks, Vietnam Coast Guard officers and soldiers may use military weapons, explosives and supporting tools and may fire military guns in accordance with the Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Supporting Tools.
  2. In cases other than cases of firing military guns in accordance  with  the  Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Supporting Tools, Vietnam Coast Guard officers and soldiers may, upon performing their tasks of preventing and fighting crimes and law violations and ensuring security, order and safety, open fire on vessels on the sea, except vessels of diplomatic representative missions, foreign consulates and international organizations’ representative offices and ships and vessels carrying people or hostages, in order to stop such vessels in one of the following cases:

a. Vessel operators attack or directly threaten the life of persons on duty or other persons.

b. They know clearly that vessels controlled by offenders deliberately flee.

c. They know clearly that vessels carrying criminals or illegal weapons or explosives, reactionary documents, State secrets, drugs or national treasures deliberately flee.

d. Vessels carrying subjects who have committed acts of piracy or armed robbery prescribed in treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a contracting party or the criminal law deliberately flee.

3. In cases of opening fire specified in Clause 2 of this Article, Vietnam Coast Guard officers and soldiers shall warn by action, order, word or fire into the air before opening fire on vessels; and shall comply with orders of competent persons when performing organized tasks.

Concerning use of professional technical means and equipment, Article 15 of the 2018 Law on Vietnam Coast Guard stipulates that:

  1. The Vietnam Coast Guard shall use professional technical means and equipment and collected results to analyse, evaluate and forecast circumstances in protecting national sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction, national security and interests on the sea; detect, arrest, investigate and handle crimes and law violations in accordance with the law on national security protection, law on handling of administrative violations and law on criminal procedures.
  2. Professional technical means and equipment of the Vietnam Coast Guard must be inspected, calibrated and tested before being put in use and go through a proper process to ensure safety in accordance with law.
  3. The Government shall prescribe the management, use and list of professional technical means and equipment of the Vietnam Coast Guard.

Thoroughly grasping and strictly observing the above-mentioned regulations contributes to the Vietnam Coast Guard’s strength, thereby ensuring security, order and safety as well as preventing and fighting serious violations of law on the sea, such as piracy, armed robbery against ships and vessels.

PHAM BINH

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