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Mai Van Thanh, from Quang Ngai Province, is the captain of the first fishing vessel to benefit from the programme. His ship is called Hoang Anh 1, and has just returned from its first expedition.
Mai Van Thanh’s newly reinforced ship
“Going out on our traditional fishing waters with larger, reinforced ships makes us more confident and safe, especially around the Spratly and Paracels archipelagos,” Thanh said.
Nguyen Manh Dung, Standing Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, said that more of these reinforced ships would be produced in the near future. He made the remark in the wake of a seminar on sea economy to discuss the directive of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
“The move shows our country’s determination to protect its sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos,” Dung commented.
“In order to really take command of these fishing areas, it’s necessary to build larger, stronger fishing fleet that withstand aggressions from Chinese vessels,” Le Dung, the captain of a fishing ship in Danang, operating near China’s illegally-placed oil rig.
Many other fishermen have also shown their determination to protect operations in Vietnamese waters and fishing areas. Provocative actions by Chinese ships seem not to have deterred them.
They said that in order to upgrade the country’s fisheries, it’s important to build ships which are reinforced with metal with a capacity of 1,000 CV and equipped with modern devices.
Many fishermen, however, have said they find it hard to get enough funding to build reinforced ships because the cost can reach as high as VND10 billion (USD470,698) for the process. Currently, there is a general support among fishermen for policies providing such loans, but some are still hesitant to take part.
It is hoped that the revised programme by the government will solve this problem.
“When ships with a capacity of 1,000 CV or more are built, it would help to increase crew sizes to 15 to 20, which would be better equipped to protect the Spratly and Paracels Islands,” said Nguyen Manh Dung.
In order to realise this plan, the Trade Union has agreed to set up fishing groups with from 15 to 20 people each for pilot operations.
“Under the new programme, fishermen will be provided with loans at zero percent interest for a term of 10 years and well as a one-year grace period to build new ships or upgrade existing ones. Many fishermen could benefit from this new policy,” Dung added.