Naval Weapons

Vietnam’s ex-US Coast Guard cutter arrives home

03 January 2018
Vietnamese crew lining the starboard rail of CSB-8020 during its transfer ceremony at US Coast Guard Base Honolulu, in May 2017. Source: US Coast Guard

Key Points

  • The Vietnam Coast Guard’s largest vessel has now arrived in-country
  • The platform, which was once deployed by the United States to provide gunfire support in the Vietnam War, will now enforce Hanoi’s claims in the South China Sea

The Vietnam Coast Guard’s (Canh Sát Bin Vit Nam: CSBV) ex-Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter that was previously in service with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has arrived in-country.

The vessel, which was formerly known as USCG Morgenthau (WHEC 722), departed Honolulu in November 2017, and arrived in Vung Tau, Vietnam on 15 December 2017, according to a vessel movement analysis by Jane’s . On its journey to home, the 115 m ship, which now bears the pennant number 8020, made a port call in Manila on 12 December.

CSB-8020 was officially handed over to Vietnam in May 2017. However the vessel, and a pioneering crew of Vietnamese personnel, remained in Hawaii in the ensuing months to conduct familiarisation and training activities with USCG officials. CSB-8020 is now the largest vessel in service with the CSBV.

The Hamilton class has an overall length of 115.2 m, an overall beam of 13.1 m, and a hull draught of 6.1 m. The cutter has a top speed of 29 kt, a standard range of 9,600 n miles (17,779 km) at 15 kt, and can accommodate a crew of 162 including 19 officers, and one helicopter on the flight deck.

While in USCG service, ex- Morgenthau was armed with one 76 mm naval gun as a primary weapon, two Orbital M242 Bushmaster dual-feed chain guns, and one 20 mm Raytheon close-in weapon system (CIWS). The ship was deployed for naval gunfire support (NGFS) missions in the Vietnam War.

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