The oceanography sector should active join the country’s international integration process, said Dr. Vo Si Tuan, Director of the Institute of Oceanography under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, adding that the sector has engaged in international cooperation since its early days.

Vietnam’s oceanography sector came into being with the establishment of the “Indochina Department of Oceanographic Fishery” in September 1922 under the decision of the Governor-general of Indochina.

The department was the predecessor of the Oceanographic Institute of Indochina (established in 1930) and the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography (founded in 1952), which is currently the “Oceanography Institute.”

Immediately after its formation, the department organised research trips on the ship De Lanessan to the Gulf of Thailand in 1925, the Gulf of Tonkin in 1925, and Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos in 1926 and 1927. It also set up 572 stations for periodical survey, including a permanent station in Hoang Sa archipelago.

From 1925 to 1953, seven survey trips to Hoang Sa and Truong Sa were organised, focusing on geography, geology, hydrodynamics, sea creatures and maritime resources potential.

Vietnam also teamed up with other countries to carry out multilateral scientific research in the Gulf of Thailand and the southern waters in the framework of the NAGA (1959-1960) and the CSK (1965-1977) programmes. The NAGA programme resulted in 17 research works on hydrological physics, geology and biology, while the CSK issued seven atlases, and more than 400 reports on surveyed data, among others.

In addition, during the 1960s, the country cooperated with China and the Soviet Union to conduct surveys in the Gulf of Tonkin, collecting a large volume of data on hydrometeorology, environment and natural resources.

From 1981-1985, Vietnamese experts were joined by their Soviet Union counterparts in survey trips on board the Berill and Kallisto ships of the Soviet Union to waters offshore the southern central, southeastern and western regions, and Truong Sa archipelago.

Between 1986 and 1990, more trips were organised on board the Shirshow and Ocean ships of the Soviet Union to collect oceanographic data on Vietnam’s continental shelf and offshore waters in the East Sea.

Vietnam started a bilateral cooperation on marine research with Germany in 2003 which lasted until 2009. During the period, a total of 17 survey trips were organised, focusing on research on upwelling and related phenomena in Vietnam’s southern waters.

As part of the policy on regional integration, Vietnam has also worked with the Philippines to carry out the Joint Oceanographic and Marine Scientific Research Expedition in the East Sea ( JOMSRE) since 1996. Under the programme, the two countries’ scientists, diplomats and military officers conducted four joint surveys in 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2007 in waters surrounding islands in the Truong Sa archipelago.

Cooperation with Russia has resumed, with several joint surveys made in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The country has also joined Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in a project funded by the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project aimed to avert the environmental degradation in the East Sea and the Thailand Gulf and build action plans for each of the involved countries and a regional strategic action plan.-VNA