In late May, Vietnam took delivery of the retired U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau (WHEC-722) as well as six new Metal Shark Defiant 45-foot pilothouse patrol vessels from the United States. The ex-Morgenthau, one of 12 Hamilton (WHEC-715)-class cutters, was decommissioned on 18 April and will serve with the Vietnamese Coast Guard as the CSB 8020. Displacing more than 3,000 tons, the 378-foot cutter was built in Louisiana and commissioned in 1969 during the height of the conflict in Southeast Asia. After entering service, she conducted underway replenishment operations, naval gunfire support, and patrol duties off the coast of Vietnam. She later became the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to have women permanently assigned. The six smaller Defiant boats also will operate as part of the Vietnamese Coast Guard, which is responsible for maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and exclusive economic zone and border patrol duties.
By Eric Wertheim