Viet Nam starts building its first submarine rescue ship

A keel laying ceremony was held on Thursday in the northeastern port city of Haiphong to mark the building of Viet Nam’s first submarine search and rescue ship.

The vessel will not only serve the Vietnamese navy force’s needs in its waters, but also engage in international submarine rescue operations when the situation demands.

The vessel, numbered MSSARS 9316, measures 94m long, 16m wide, and 5.85m high, with a displacement measurement (i.e. weight) reaching 4,000 tonnes.

The vessel will feature an on-deck helipad and a “robust dynamic positioning system and various other features” to make sure the ship can function unhindered in harsh weather conditions, such as winds of Beaufort force 9 (75-88km/h) and waves as high as 14m, which could threaten even the biggest sea liners.

Aside from its main duty as a submarine rescue vessel, the MSSARS 9316 is also capable of underwater surveying, seafloor mapping, and serving as an ocean research vessel.

The important project will be undertaken by Z189, a shipyard company under the Viet Nam Ministry of National Defence, who has gained international reputation after it built ships with similar functions for the Royal Australian Navy in a joint venture with the Dutch defence group Damen.

A representative from the Z189 factory said the construction of the MSSARS 9316 will also draw on experience it obtained from the construction of Australia’s twin submarine intervention gear ships (Besant and Stoker).

The entire shipbuilding process is estimated at 27 months.

Speaking at the ceremony, Phạm Hoài Nam, Rear Admiral of the Việt Nam People’s Navy, asked Z189 to “work closely with concerned authorities to hasten the implementation of the project and to keep to the schedule.”