Vietnamese People's Navy - Bases
Vietnam will allow Russia to set up a ship maintenance base at its port of Cam Ranh, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said on 27 July 2012. Sang, speaking to the Voice of Russia radio station ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, stressed that the port would not be a Russian military base. But he also said that Cam Ranh would be used to help develop “military co-operation” between the two former Cold War allies. Sang also said Hanoi was planning to develop the capacity to provide maintenance services to any foreign ship docking at Cam Ranh, a former Soviet naval base.
Russia currently had only one foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria. But the base is little more than a re-fuelling stop for Russian warships. Russia’s naval chief, Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov, confirmed that Russia was in talks on obtaining naval bases in Cuba, Vietnam and in the Seychelles. “We are indeed continuing work to ensure the stationing of Russian Navy forces outside the Russian Federation,” he said in an interview with RIA Novosti. “As part of this work at the international level, we are discussing issues related to the creation of [ship] maintenance stations in Cuba, in the Seychelles and in Vietnam.”
The Russian Navy saw that it badly needed foreign bases after 2008, when Russian warships joined international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Russia has also discussed the possibility of using ports in Djibouti for its warships in the past.
Vietnam set a deadline of 2015 for the construction of a repair facility for Russian and Soviet ships at Cam Ranh Bay, a Russian defense industry executive said 26 September 2014. The maintenance and repair facility will service “the entire range of Soviet and Russian built surface ships and submarines that have been supplied to the country” Yevgeny Shustikov, deputy head of the Zvezdochka shipyard, said at the international naval and maritime exhibition NAMEXPO-2013 in India.
Russian specialists were in Vietnam to work on the facility’s proposed design, he said, adding that the Vietnamese side has set a deadline of 2015. In July 2012 Vietnam’s president said that Russian ships will be allowed to dock at Cam Ranh for maintenance. He explained that Vietnam wants to see the port provide foreign ships with maintenance and repair services but that foreign navies will not be allowed to use the port for military purposes.
Cam Ranh was a main US base during the Vietnam War. In 1979 the Soviet Union leased the base for 25 years, turning it into its largest naval base abroad. Russia gave it up two years early in 2002 after Vietnam raised the rent on the base.
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