Key information

  • Flag:Vietnam Flag
  • Population:90,000,000 (approx.)
  • Coastline:Over 3,250km
  • Maritime Authority:Vietnam Maritime Administration (VINAMARINE)


Vietnam’s 47,000 km of waterways are essential for transporting people and trade, both international and national.

The country’s main exports are garments, machinery, wooden products and food products including seafood, rice and coffee. Mineral resources native to Vietnam include natural deposits of phosphates, manganese, bauxite, chromate and rare earth elements, as well as offshore oil and gas deposits. Tourism, which also relies upon the waterways, is another significant contributor to the country’s economy.

Ports Of Vietnam

Vietnam’s ports are run by the Maritime Administration and classified by territorial jurisdiction or by size and functions. For example Van Phong-Khan Ho is considered an international transshipment and Hai Phong and the Bai Ria-Vung Tau ports are international gateway ports. The ports of Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang are considered key regional ports.

Flag / Port State Responsibilities

The flag and port State responsibilities of Vietnam are the responsibility of VINAMARINE, who are in charge of registration of ships. Certain tasks relating to technical requirements, such as the supervision of ships registered, fall under the sphere of activities conducted by the Vietnam Register (VR). In addition, the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG), under the Ministry of Defense, provides support through enforcement activities. VINAMARINE undertakes port State control activities by carrying out inspections on foreign ships visiting Vietnam ports and also represents Vietnam at the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding.

Merchant Fleet

Vietnam’s merchant fleet consists of 1,342 ships and have a gross tonnage of 4,206,123. Forty-four passenger ships are engaged on domestic routes, while cargo ships and other vessels are engaged on international routes. Vietnam also has a large number of vessels in its fishing fleet.

Vietnam registered-ships are owned and operated by private corporations which must be legally established in the country. Joint-venture arrangements between a local company and foreign investors are allowed under a 49-51% ratio, provided that the majority interest rests with the Vietnamese national. The State-owned shipping enterprise Vietnam Lines (VINALINES) also operates on international routes. Vietnam allows ships owned and operated by its nationals to be registered under foreign flags where such ships are considered over the fifteen years cap imposed on all Vietnamese vessels.

Laws & Regulations

Maritime transport contributes substantially to the country’s economy and Vietnam has adopted the Master Plans on Development of Vietnam’s Ocean Shipping and Seaport Systems to serve as guideposts in defining the strategies, programmes and regulations for marine environment protection. Vietnam has signed several environment protection agreements and treaties in order to address the degradation of the marine environment, such as the Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, the Law of the Sea Convention and MARPOL. There are two major legislations on marine pollution, namely the Vietnam Maritime Code and the Environment Law.

VINAMARINE is the lead agency in the implementation of rules and regulations relating to pollution generated and/or discharged by ships.

International / Regional / Sub-Regional Memberships / Co-operations

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Member
  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Member
  • ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) – Member
  • Coordinating Body of the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) – Participant
  • Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) – Partner

IMO Conventions and Protocols