55/CP OF OCTOBER 1st , 1996 OF THE GOVERNMENT ON THE
ACTIVITIES OF FOREIGN WARSHIPS VISITING THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF
to the Law on Organization of the Government of September 30, 1992;
to the Maritime Code of Vietnam;
to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982;
proposal of the Minister of Defense,
provides for the activities of foreign warships and the crew on board
during their visits to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Warships are ships
belonging to the armed force of a nation or a military organization
carrying the outwards signs typical of the warships of that nation or
military organization and under the command of a naval officer who
serves that nation or organization. Such commander (captain) must have
his/her name on the list of officers or in a similar document and the
crew must abide by the military disciplinary regulations.
The terms used in
this Decree shall be construed as follows:
Seaports are ports opened in accordance with Vietnam’s Maritime Code to
accommodate sea-going ships.
Military ports are ports which are managed by the Minister of Defense of
Vietnam and operates in accordance with the regulations on military
The activities of a warship include: entering and leaving,
staying and other activities during its visit and stay in the port.
The members on board a warship consist of the head of the
delegation (if any), the captain, sailors and other accompanying people.
visiting and operating at the Vietnamese ports must respect the
independence and sovereignty of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, abide
by the provisions of Vietnamese law, the provisions of this Decree and
the international agreements which Vietnam has signed or acceded to;
and, at the same time, observe the guidance of the specialized
management authorities at the ports.
PROVISIONS ON THE
OPERATION OF FOREIGN WARSHIPS AT VIETNAMESE PORTS
entering Vietnamese ports for visits including:
Official visits by the head of a foreign State on board a warship
via a Vietnamese port at the invitation of the State of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam to enhance the friendly relationships between the
Courtesy visits to enhance the friendly relationships between the
people’s and the armies of the two nations.
Ordinary visits to coordinate military training and maneuvers, to
supply technical materials or to re-supply in fuel, buy foods or to give
sailors a rest.
The visit of a foreign warship must be permitted by the
Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, except otherwise
provided for by an agreement signed between the Government of Vietnam
and the country that owns the ship.
A foreign warship shall seek permission to visit Vietnam (except
for official visits) through the diplomatic channel at least 30 days
before the planned date of its arrival at the port, (except otherwise
provided for by a treaty or agreement signed between the two
Governments). In the declaration form requesting permission for visiting
Vietnam by a warship, the following must be clearly stated:
The name, type,
registration number and technical specifications of the ship.
Type of the visit
(official, courtesy or ordinary).
The port of call.
The time of
arrival and the length of stay.
The full name,
rank and title of the ship captain.
The number of
officers, non-commissioned officers and other accompanying people on
board each ship.
The number of
people on board who have nationalities other than the ship’s
equipment and liaison frequencies to be registered for use during the
visit and operation at the port.
The request for
fuel supply, the working program and other requests of the delegation.
After a warship is permitted to visit, 48 hours before entering
the waters of Vietnam, the captain of the warship must notify the
Vietnamese Ministry of Defense (the External Relation Department) of the
visit so that preparations for the reception can be made. If there is
any change in the contents already stated in the declaration form
defined in Item 2, Article 6, the captain must report it and ask for
permission through diplomatic channels before the ship enters the port.
The hoisting of the flag of a foreign warship visiting Vietnam
shall be made according to the agreement reached through diplomatic
channels between the Government of Vietnam and the Government of the
country the ship bears its nationality.
Upon entering the
waters of Vietnam, a foreign warship must observe the following
If it is a submarine, it must be in the floating state.
It must clearly display its registration number and name.
All the weapons on board must be at the non-operational position
and in the maintenance state.
It must stop in the area for receiving/returning a pilot to
complete the entry formalities under the guidance of the Vietnamese port
authorities and the pilot.
It is allowed to use only the necessary equipment to ensure
navigational safety and the registered liaison frequencies.
It must arrive at the entry port via the prescribed route and
the entry and exit formalities the following documents must be produced:
For the ship:
registration certificate or document evidencing the ship’s nationality.
list of the members on board.
declaration of goods (if any).
of the quantity of weapons, communications equipment and other military
equipment on board.
working program of the delegation during its stay at the port.
For the members on board:
Passports or equivalent papers.
The ceremonial and
protocol activities during the visit of a foreign warship must strictly
conform to the mutually agreed schedule. The Ministry of Defense shall
have to supervise the foreign warship’s activities at the port and
coordinate with other concerned agencies in organizing the reception.
A foreign warship
visiting Vietnam is allowed to anchor only at the designated port agreed
upon when seeking permission through diplomatic channels. The number of
warships of the same country anchoring at the same time at the port must
not be more than three (03) and the length of their stay must not exceed
seven (7)days, except for special cases permitted by the Government of
the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
While anchoring at
the port, the foreign warship must adhere to the regulations on the
management of maritime activities at the seaports and maritime areas of
Vietnam or the regulations on military ports. All the activities of the
ship and the member on board must conform with the program, other
activities outside the program must be permitted by the competent
authorities at the port.
The members on
board the warship shall disembark only when they have completed the
entry formalities and are so permitted by the Border Guard Station of
the port or as prescribed by the regulations on military ports. Any
accompanied goods must be subject to the provisions of Vietnamese laws
on Customs, Health and Quarantine.
ashore, they must strictly follow the program and regulations already
notified by the Vietnamese authorities.
A foreign warship
entering, leaving and staying at a Vietnamese port must not carry out
the following activities:
Undertaking activities against the independence, sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Carrying out propaganda and intelligence activities and other
acts detrimental to the defense or security of the Socialist Republic of
Carrying weapons of mass destruction, radioactive substances,
toxic chemicals and narcotics.
Disseminating and distributing printed matters, pictures and
films and other cultural publications without the permission of the
State of Vietnam.
Taking people and goods onto or out of the ship in contravention
of the provisions of Vietnamese law on entry and exit, except for
rescuing people, which, however, must be immediately notified to the
Vietnamese authorities at the port.
Launching, receiving or loading on board any flying equipment or
military weaponry without the permission of the Vietnamese authorities.
Conducting illegal research or measurement activities, fishing
marine products, trading, or jamming the communications system,
obstructing transport and communications, causing pollution to the
environment or damage to the port facilities and constructions.
Moving alongside another ship or entering an prohibited area
Taking films and photos and drawing maps of the prohibited area.
Causing public disorder, hindering or countering the performance
of official duties by the Vietnamese authorities.
Conducting other activities prohibited by Vietnamese law.
Any violation by a
foreign warship of the provisions in this Decree and other provisions of
Vietnamese law shall be handled through diplomatic channels.
captain of the foreign warship shall be held accountable for the
consequences of any illegal act of the members on board the ship during
its stay in the Vietnamese port.
member on board the warship who violates Vietnamese law shall be handled
depending on the nature and extent of his/her violation in accordance
with the provisions of Vietnamese law (except for people who enjoy
diplomatic privileges and immunity).
The competence to
handle violations shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions
of Vietnamese law.
This Decree takes
effect from the date of its signing, the earlier provisions regarding
the visits of foreign warships to Vietnamese ports which are contrary to
this Decree are now annulled.
The Ministry of
Defense shall have to guide the implementation of this Decree.
The Ministers, the
heads of the ministerial-level agencies and the agencies Sattached to
the Government, the Presidents of the People’s committees of the
provinces and the cities directly under the Central Government shall
have to implement this Decree.
On behalf of
VO VAN KIET