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Sunday, February 21, 2021, 21:21 (GMT+7)
The Naval Zone 2 provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea

Over time, cadres and soldiers of the Naval Zone 2 have effectively executed the Programme entitled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea.” The outcome of the Programme has proved naval staff members’ sentiment and responsibility for fishermen’s operation and greatly contributed to defending the Homeland’s sacred sovereignty over seas and islands.

Patrolling seas and islands

Grasping the Party’s guidelines, particularly the 12th Party Central Committee’s Resolution No.8 on “the Strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy towards 2030, with a vision towards 2045,” together with maintaining combat readiness and safeguarding seas, islands, the DK1 platform, cadres and soldiers of the Naval Zone 2 have always devoted effort to protecting marine economic activities and helping fishermen with their operation, especially at seas and on islands far from the coast. Besides, they have always seen search and rescue as a combat mission in peacetime and a “command from the heart,” while taking care of fishermen as their relatives and acting as a reliable “anchor” for long fishing journeys at sea.

Being fully aware of their challenging task and responsibility, the Zone’s Party Committee and Command have directed affiliated offices and units to closely cooperate with 10 provincial Propaganda and Education Commissions, 6 provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, local Centres for National Defence and Security Education, and other units in designing and signing the Plan on coordination to carry out the work of special propagation aimed at realising the Programme titled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea.” The Zone has considered this work as the basis for raising public awareness and achieving a consensus amongst citizens, fishermen and students about our Party and State’s guidelines and policies on managing and defending seas and islands.

To that end, emphasis has been placed on introducing the Law of the Sea of Vietnam (2012), the Law on Fisheries (2017), the Prime Minister’s Directive 45/CT-TTg, dated December 13th, 2017 on “urgent tasks and measures to respond to the European Commission’s warning about illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” and positions of docks, fishing villages, and the Navy’s logistics-technical service centres at sea to fishermen. Units within the Zone have also given instructions on communication with the Navy’s guard posts to fishermen in the event of incident. Significance has been attached to making fishermen clearly understand acts of illegal exploitation at sea, safety regulations, and laws of Vietnam and other countries. Also, fishermen have been given first aid instructions and taught how to recognise foreign military aircraft and vessels. Doing so has helped render fishermen fully aware of the importance of seas and islands, enable them to exploit fishery resources safely and legally, turn each fishing vessel with a national flag into a “living boundary marker” at sea, and make contributions to safeguarding our country’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.

In the process, units across the Zone have adopted and renewed methods of propagation. In addition to oral propagation sessions at localities, during their missions at sea, cadres and soldiers of the Zone have employed a direct approach and used the system of fishing radios to conduct the work of propagation effectively, thereby allowing fishermen to work normally on their vessels. Detailed instructions on legal fisheries, leaflets with pieces of useful information, national flags, life jackets, and face masks have been provided for fishermen. In 2020, the Naval Zone 2’s Command carried out the work of propagation for 1,920 fishing vessels with more than 12,500 fishermen, while delivering 13,500 leaflets, 4,000 national flags, 550 life jackets, 1,000 face masks, all of which were worth about 775 million VND, to fishermen at local fishing ports. At the same time, the Zone installed pieces of surveillance equipment on tens of thousands of fishing vessels to monitor their locations. It also encouraged owners of fishing vessels to sign commitments not to violating foreign seas in order to respond to the European Commission’s warning.

With a view to better providing support for fishermen at sea, the Zone has proactively collaborated with central, local and military press agencies in disseminating the Programme titled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea,” thereby turning it into a practical, widespread action movement encouraging fishermen to join the Navy and other law enforcement forces in protecting the national sovereignty over seas, islands, and continental shelf under the projects and the State’s legal normative documents.

The work of propagation has directly contributed to raising fishermen’s awareness of law, regulations, and directives on safe, sustainable exploitation of fisheries, while violations of foreign seas by our fishing vessels have been significantly decreased. In 2020, the Zone prevented 126 fishing vessels from violating foreign seas, negotiated with other countries to free 12 Vietnamese fishing vessels, and then handed over them to competent offices.

While safeguarding the Homeland’s sacred sovereignty over seas and islands, cadres and soldiers of the Naval Zone 2 have become friends and companions of fishermen at sea. Under the Programme entitled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea,” during their missions at sea, units of the Zone have patrolled, controlled, managed, and defended seas, islands, the DK1 platform, and the continental shelf in the South, while protecting fishermen’s legitimate operation, lives, and assets at sea against foreign vessels and pirates’ attacks, thus creating a favourable  condition for our fishermen’s operation and exploitation of marine resources. At the same time, cadres and soldiers of the Zone have closely cooperated with local competent offices in implementing preferential treatment policies for fishermen under the State’s regulations, conducting search and rescue operations, handling fishermen’s incident, repairing their equipment, and opportunely providing drinking water, food, fuel for fishing vessels having incidents at sea. In 2020, the Zone’s affiliated units rescued 21 fishing vessels and 85 fishermen from various provinces at sea, repaired 52 fishing vessels, gave 6 tons of food and 720 cubic metres of drinking water to fishermen at sea, and provided free first aid, medical treatment and medicine to 131 fishermen who had been sick or met with accidents at sea. It is worth noting that on April 27th, 2020, the Zone’s forces rescued 30 fishermen on the fishing vessel Qna 95654 from the province of Quang Nam, which had sunk and drifted in the sea around the DK1 platform during 48 hours, with the absolute safety. Those timely search and rescue operations have formed a beautiful image of Naval soldiers, cemented fishermen’s faith in the Navy, helped them to keep their mind on their work at sea, and enabled them to cooperate with the forces in affirming and protecting traditional fishing grounds, defending the Homeland’s sovereignty over seas and islands, and maintaining peace and stability within seas.

The sentiment and responsibility of cadres and soldiers of the Naval Zone 2 have added an incentive to fishermen’s operation and their participation in the fight for protecting the country’s sea and island sovereignty, maintaining political stability, and boosting maritime economic development. In 2020, fishermen in the South detected and reported 82 targets of various types, including military and law enforcement vessels from China, the U.S., Indonesia, and Malaysia to the Naval Zone 2 so that its forces could monitor such vessels and ensure the safety of our country’s economic and military operations at sea.

Currently, some countries’ plots to claim sovereignty over the East Sea and their conspiracies to monopolise this sea are extremely cunning. Meanwhile, the sea between Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia is witnessing more complicated developments. Against that backdrop, in order to further improve the propagation of national sea and island sovereignty and the Programme titled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea” to meet the task requirements in the new situation, the Naval Zone 2 will keep cooperating with localities and other forces in well implementing several task and measures as follows.

1. Frequently maintain cooperation in exchanging and providing information relating to seas and islands, especially when the situation in the East Sea is complex and intense so as to orientate public opinion. Information about our fishing operations and local socio-economic development will be also collected to serve the work of propagation.

2. Concentrate on disseminating our Party and State’s guidelines and policies on managing and defending seas and islands, the real situation at sea, the building of a revolutionary, regular, elite, modern Vietnam People’s Navy, the Prime Minister’s Directive 45/CT-TTg, dated December 13th, 2017, the Law of the Sea of Vietnam (2012), and the Law on Fisheries (2017) to contribute to raising public awareness, achieving a consensus within the society, and improving a sense of responsibility amongst citizens, fishermen, and students for the defence of the Homeland’s sovereignty over seas and islands.

3. Maintain close coordination in conducting the mass mobilisation work and search and rescue operations, providing support for citizens and fishermen, improving the life of people under the preferential treatment policy or in difficulty, and implementing the policy regarding military families.

4. Adhere to plans for coordination to further raise the quality and efficiency of sea, island propagation and better execute the Programme entitled “Vietnamese Navy provides firm support for fishermen’s operation at sea” in 2021 and beyond.

Rear Admiral DO VAN YEN, Commissar of the Naval Zone 2

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