Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 20:35 (GMT+7)

Tuesday, July 07, 2020, 08:08 (GMT+7)
The Military actively participates in search and rescue at sea

Being aware of the adverse  effects of natural disasters, climate change and thoroughly grasping the assigned functions and tasks, the Military has actively and proactively overcome difficulties and achieved many positive results in carrying out the tasks of natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue (SAR) in general, and search and rescue at sea, in particular. Notably, party committees and commanders at all levels have paid due the leadership and direction over the implementation of the work. The forces (with the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Border Guards, the Air Defence - Air Force and the coastal military zones being the core) have proactively made preparation in forces, materiel, vehicles and built plans for prevention and control of natural disasters and incidents, SAR in accordance with their tasks and areas of operation; and regularly reviewed, supplemented, adjusted, and held practice and drills.

Head of the SAR Department checks the Northern Centre for responding to oil spill incidents

With the spirit of “regardless of the danger” and “all for the people", the Military has always been at the forefront and timely present at the place of natural disasters and incidents; thereby clearly demonstrating its pioneering and core role in responding to incidents, overcoming the consequences of natural disasters, and SAR on sea. Since August 15, 2018 to date, Military units have mobilized 125,056 turns of cadres and soldiers, 3,364 turns of vehicles to coordinate with functional agencies, forces and localities to participate in the search and rescue of 1,480 cases, rescued 1,722 people, 96 vehicles, called and guided 2,060,716 turns of people, 447,015 vehicles operating on sea to move out of the affected areas of storms, anchor and stay in safe areas. In particular, we have successfully handled the oil spill incident in the residential quarter No. 5, Quang Hung Ward, Thanh Hoa City; the fire of Singapore-flagged container ship  APL Vancouver; the SAR and settlement of the consequences of the serious accident of the NA-95899 TS fishing vessel caused by the Pacific 01 Ship which left 09 fishermen missing; responded to the incident of the BV-98459 TS Ship carrying about 50,000 litres of Diesel oil sunk in the waters of Phu Quy, Binh Thuan Province; responded to oil spill incident of VIETSUN INTERGRITY transport ship on Long Tau River, Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City, etc., which was highly appreciated by the local people, party committees, authorities, and international friends. Moreover, military agencies and units have always upheld their sense of responsibility, directly encouraged, shared and helped the victims, people living in coastal areas and on islands affected by natural disasters to overcome consequences, stabilize their life and production, contributing to further beautifying the fine tradition of "Uncle Ho's Soldiers".

In the coming time, it is forecasted that the weather, climate and hydrology in our country's waters will continue to be complicated, extreme and unpredictable. Trade operations and marine economic development will be more and more vibrant with potential risks of accidents and incidents. To further improve the quality and effectiveness of incident response, natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue at sea, minimize human and property damage to the people, contributing to the successful implementation of the Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW, dated October 22, 2018 of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure) on the Strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam's marine economy by 2030, with a vision to 2045, Military agencies and units should thoroughly grasp and implement the following solutions and measures:

Firstly, promoting the work of education and communication to raise awareness and sense of responsibility for troops and people on maritime safety, and SAR at sea. Search and rescue at sea is a highly specific activity, always conducted in difficult and dangerous conditions, directly affecting the lives of officers and soldiers. Therefore, in order to successfully fulfill the assigned tasks, party committees and commandants of agencies and units should make their officers and soldiers understand thoroughly so as to increase their awareness of the Party's lines and views, the State's policies and laws, directly the resolutions and directives of the Party, the State and the Ministry of Defense on maritime safety and SAR at sea. Emphasis should be placed on the Government's Decree No. 30/2017/NĐ-CP, dated March 21, 2017 on "Regulations on the organization, and responsive operations to natural disaster and search and rescue"; Decision No. 506/2019 / QĐ-TTg, dated May 4, 2019 of the Prime Minister on the approval of the additional to-do list for the implementation of the 1979 International Maritime Search and Rescue Convention (SAR 79) in accordance with the Decision No. 06/2009/QĐ-TTg, dated January 15, 2009 for the 2019 – 2025 period in the Military; orders, directives and instructions of superiors on search and rescue missions at sea, as well as results and experience in performing this task of the forces, etc.

The CSB2001 tugboat rescuing the troubled KG 1619TS
boat on sea  

Second, thoroughly prepare and adhere to the "4-on-the-spot" guideline in search and rescue at sea. Agencies and units should regularly consolidate the Steering Committee for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue at all levels; strictly maintain the regime of duty, firmly grasp the situation, advise and propose, promptly and effectively handle the emerging issues; focus on reviewing, supplementing and adjusting plans close to the actual situation, areas of operation and task requirements; fully prepare the task of assurance, close coordinate with local authorities and forces stationing in the area, promptly maneuver to cope with situations for not being made passive and unexpected. In order to achieve high efficiency, in the coming time, the Search and Rescue Department should continue to coordinate with the military regions to direct the Military Command of coastal provinces and cities to advise the local Steering Committees for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue to direct departments and agencies to build Plan for coping with 12 incidents, natural disasters, search and rescue situations under the Prime Minister's Decision No. 1041/QĐ-TTg and The Government's Decree No. 30/2017/NĐ-CP stipulating the organization and operations of incident response, natural disaster, search and rescue; the Decision No. 19/2017/QĐ-BQP of the Ministry of National Defence on the implementation of Decree 30/2017/NĐ-CP of the Government. On that basis, to consolidate the forces involved in natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue; step by step build and develop the model of specialized search and rescue teams on the sea, with the Navy, Coast Guard and Border Guards being the core.

The Search and Rescue Department should continue to coordinate with the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control to propose to the Government investment policy for building a number of natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue stations on islands; coordinate with functional agencies of the related ministries and branches in elaborating the National Program for research, application and mobilization of scientific and technological resources in response to earthquakes and tsunamis. Effectively implement the key projects, acquire specialized equipment for responding to incident, natural disasters and search and rescue in accordance with the 5-year medium-term investment plan (2016-2020) that has been approved; attaching importance to renewing equipment, purchasing search and rescue equipment at sea with the motto: "modern, fast, flexible", having the capability of operation in all weather conditions, both on surface and under water; gradually modernize the material foundations, means and equipment in service of training, drills and search and rescue at sea.

Due to the complexity of the task and the large area of the seas, in order to promote the "4-on-the-spot" in search and rescue at sea, the Search and Rescue Department should work closely with functional bodies to advise the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of National Defence, the Office of National Committee for Response to Incidents, Natural Disaster and Search and Rescue on the issue of the Regulations on coordination between the Navy, Vietnam Coast Guard, Border Guards with the Centres for coordination in maritime search and rescue; combine training, patrol, management, control, protection of sovereignty over seas and islands with the readiness to participate in search and rescue, etc.

Thirdly, improve the quality of training and rehearsals in maritime search and rescue for the soldiers, especially the specialized forces in the localities. Searching and rescue at sea is the Military's "combat mission" in peacetime. In order to perform well this task, agencies and units should step up innovation, further improve the quality of training and drills; foster the organizational experience, administration, skills, process for troubleshooting the incidents, natural disasters, search and rescue for forces. In particular, focus on intensive training and capacity building for 05 humanitarian assistance and disaster relief teams; training to improve the skills for operating modern search and rescue equipment and the skills to overcome oil spills and prevent fires and explosions for professional and technical personnel. In order to achieve high efficiency, agencies and units should concentrate on studying and elaborating plans, programs, contents, training methods and drills close to the local realities; pay attention to promoting the application of science and technology, modernizing the training model, closely combining basic training with the application of information technology. The Search and Rescue Department should coordinate with the Military Training Department in advising and assisting leaders of the Ministry of National Defence and the National Committee for Responding to Incident, Natural Disaster, Search and Rescue to organize training courses to improve SAR capacity; deploy guidance on plans for response to incidents, natural disasters, search and rescue in the whole Military and the Steering Committees for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue of ministries, branches and localities. Continue to direct the Centre for Maritime Search and Rescue, Naval Academy; National Training Center for Air Search and Rescue, the Air Defence - Air Force to hold training courses for professional staff to control inland waterway vehicles, search and rescue;  and training courses on search and rescue by air and sea. At the same time, actively research, supplement and complete textbooks and training materials on search and rescue at sea, meeting the requirements and tasks.

Along with the contents and solutions above, the Military should continue to expand international cooperation with foreign military, especially countries in the region, in sharing information, application of science and technology, conducting  exercises in handling situations in search and rescue, disaster relief at sea; actively coordinate with ministries, branches and localities in proposing the plans for negotiating with other countries sharing the East Sea on the search and rescue zone at sea; well fulfill the responsibilities of a member state of the International Maritime Organisation, meeting the mission requirements in the new situation.

Major General DOAN THAI DUC, Director of Search and Rescue Department, Head of the Office of the National Committee for responding to incidents, natural disasters, search and rescue

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