The command is entrusted with managing and defending the southwestern waters from Ganh Hao estuary (in Bac Lieu province) to Ha Tien (Kien Giang province). Covering the area of 150,000 sq.km, these waters border the waters of Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It has a nearly 450 km of coastline, numerous estuaries, and 153 large and small islands, of which 46 are inhabited.
Besides advantages in task performance, the command has also faced many challenges. In fact, in these designated waters, there remains 16,000 sq.km of overlapping waters between Vietnam and Cambodia, 650 sq.km of overlapping waters among Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, and some 2,800 sq.km of overlapping waters between Vietnam and Malaysia. The sovereignty over these overlapping waters has not been clearly defined, so it is difficult to manage.
Therefore, to maintain peace and stability in the waters, the Naval Region 5 Command has strengthened its ties with the naval forces of regional countries, including the Royal Cambodian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy.
According to Lieutenant Commander Nguyen Trung Thong, Commissar of Flotilla 512 and Senior Lieutenant Pham Van Thuy, Captain of Ship 264 of Brigade 127, the command has conducted joint patrols with regional navies, considering each patrol an intensive training opportunity. During the patrols, participating troops practiced preventing acts of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and arms- and explosive-trafficking. They also exercised using hand flags and signal lamps in line with the international code of signals.
So far, the Naval Region 5 Command has completed 62 joint patrols with the Royal Cambodia Navy and 42 others with the Royal Thai Navy. It has also maintained a hotline with Regions 1 and 2 of the Royal Thai Navy and naval bases under the Royal Cambodian Navy to exchange information and discuss measures to solve situations occurring in their countries’ adjacent waters. These activities have made important contributions to consolidating solidarity and friendship between their militaries and navies and to upholding a peaceful and stable environment at sea, creating favorable conditions for socio-economic development in each country.
In the years to come, apart from stability in the southwestern waters, there are still potential risks that might cause instability, including illegal fishing in foreign waters. Thus, the Party Committee and Chain-of-command of the Naval Region 5 Command has defined that they will bring into full play what they had achieved, bolster defense diplomacy, including more joint patrols with the Royal Thai and Cambodian navies in order to firmly defend national sovereignty over seas and islands, and maintain order, security, peace, stability, and development in the southwestern waters of the nation.
Translated by Mai Huong