Vietnam’s state-owned Z189 shipyard has started construction of the first submarine rescue vessel, MSSARS 9316, for the Vietnam People’s Navy with the keel-laying ceremony at its facility in Haiphong on May 24.
Attending the ceremony were Rear Admiral Pham Hoai Nam, Member of the Central Committee, Commander of the Navy; Major General Ho Quang Tuan, Deputy Director, Chief of General Department of Defense Industry; delegates from the Ministry of Defense, Navy, Damen Group.
The ship, known as MSSARS 9316 (multipurpose submarine search-and-rescue ship 9316), has a length of 94 m, a width of 16 m, and a displacement of around 4,000 tonnes.
Z189, which is under the Việt Nam Ministry of National Defence, is building MSSARS 9316 in co-operation with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards. The ship is based on Damen Rescue Gear Ship 9316 and the construction is expected to take 27 months.
MSSARS 9316 will feature a helipad on the bow 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, reported Viet Nam News.
Aside from its main role as a submarine rescue vessel, MSSARS 9316 will also be capable of conducting underwater surveying, seafloor mapping, and will serve as an ocean research vessel, said the report. The report added that the Z189 shipyard has already built ships with similar functions for the Royal Australian Navy in a joint venture with Damen.
In late February 2017, the Vietnam People’s Navy has commissioned the last two of the six Project 636 Varshavyanka “Improved Kilo-class” diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) ordered from Russia in 2009. The new submarines will provide a substantial boost to Navy’s ability to patrol the South China Sea.