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Cablegate: U.S. Coast Guard Assessment Team Finds Vietnam In

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DE RUEHHI #2161/01 2360957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240957Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3164
INFO RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-PC/G-CI/G-86//
RUEHHI/USDAO HANOI VM
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J02/J3/J52//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-3//
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 1687
RUWGTCG/COMPACAREA COGARD ALAMEDA CA
RUSKGRD/COGARD INTELCOORDCEN WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002161

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: AMGT ECON EFIN VM
SUBJECT: U.S. COAST GUARD ASSESSMENT TEAM FINDS VIETNAM IN
COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL SHIP AND PORT SECURITY CODE

1. Summary: From August 6-18, a team from the United States Coast
Guard's International Port Security Program conducted a review of
Vietnamese commercial shipping ports in accordance with the Maritime
Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) and the recently-adopted
set of security standards referred to as the International Ship and
Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Based on observations at seven
commercial ports in Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Ha Long Bay, Quang
Ninh Province and Hai Phong, the Coast Guard delegation determined
that Vietnam has substantially implemented the ISPS Code. End
Summary.

Visit Background
----------------

2. The MTSA was passed shortly after September 11 as a means to
ensure effective security and anti-terrorism measures are in place
at ports from which non-U.S. flagged vessels arrive and to which
U.S. flagged vessels visit. Under the MTSA, the United States Coast
Guard (USCG) is responsible for visiting all countries that trade
with the United States by maritime means to observe implementation
of the ISPS code and share best practices for implementation. The
Coast Guard has conducted similar reviews in more than 50 other
countries. Those countries found not to be in compliance with the
ISPS could suffer negative consequences to their trade with the
United States due to increased security requirements and delays when
vessels from their ports attempt to enter the United States.

Assessment Findings
-------------------

3. During an August 17 out-brief with the DCM and Acting Econ
Counselor, the head of the USCG delegation, LCDR Mike Long, said
that the team had a great visit to Vietnam and were very impressed
by how open and forthcoming their Vietnamese interlocutors from the
Vietnam Maritime Administration (Vinamarine) and the various ports
were. The assessment team visited the facilities of: Tang Cang-Cat
Lai and Nha Rong Terminal, Saigon New Port-Port of Ho Chi Minh City;
Interflour Vietnam - Port of Vung Tau; B12 Petroleum - Ha Long City;
Port and Coal Trading Company - Cam Pha Port; and Hai Phong and Chua
Ve Terminals and Dai Hai Petrol Corporation - Hai Phong. Overall,
the team concluded that Vietnam is implementing the ISPS Code at its
ports. Long believes that Vietnam recognizes and is upholding its
obligations as a strong partner in international maritime security
efforts. The delegation issued a Country Visit Report detailing its
findings and recommendations on a national level and providing
specific comments for each of the ports it visited.

4. The report details several challenges for Vietnam, particularly
in the areas of access control and inconsistent implementation of an
effective security drill and exercise program at its port
facilities. The USCG delegation noted, however, that these were
common problems present in many of the countries it has visited.
The report also identifies several "best practices" used by
Vietnamese commercial port facilities that the USCG plans to post on
its website and share with other countries.

Vinamarine Reaction
-------------------

5. At the August 17 out-brief with Vinamarine, General Director Lam
was very pleased with the Coast Guard's findings. He recognized
that Vietnam still faces many challenges at its commercial port
facilities, and will continue to work with the numerous port
operators throughout Vietnam to improve security measures and
implementation of the ISPS Code. He thanked the USCG for its visit
- noting that it was a good opportunity to learn from U.S.
experiences and spurred increased vigilance for security issues at
many of Vietnam's ports. Lam noted that the visit shows the
international community generally, and the United States
specifically, are interested in Vietnam and are seeking to help
Vietnam address maritime security issues. The General Director
mentioned Vinamarine's intention to reciprocate the visit and send a
delegation to the United States to observe security measures at
select commercial ports.

Next Steps
----------

6. Based on this visit, the U.S. Coast Guard will issue a formal
report later this year. The regional Coast Guard International Port
Security Liaison Officer, LCDR Tom Griffitts, will likely deliver

HANOI 00002161 002 OF 002


the final report to Vinamarine in person this December. The
delegation expects the final report to call for a follow-up review
of Vietnam's port facilities by a small team of Coast Guard
officials six months after the report's issuance (i.e., in May or
June 2007).


MARINE

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