The Shipping Law Review: Vietnam

Commercial overview of the shipping industry

Vietnam has the advantage of a long coastal line, and therefore the Vietnamese shipping and marine industry has been a traditional one with a long history. Furthermore, despite the impact of the covid-19 pandemic worldwide and the Vietnamese economy in particular, the shipping industry in Vietnam is still growing. In early 2022, the Vietnam Maritime Administration (VINAMARINE) issued a report on cargo operation at sea in Vietnam in 2021, showing a steady increase compared to 2020. In particular, exported cargo reached 185 million tonnes, of which containerised cargo was 7.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Imported cargo reached 214 million tonnes, of which containerised cargo was 7.9 million TEUs. The majority of cargo operations are conducted in four main cities, namely Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong, which have the busiest ports in Vietnam.2

Notably, 9,587 port calls for container ships in 2020 resulted in Vietnam being ranked in 13th position in the world for container ship calling countries. Vietnam is also among the top 25 countries, having the top speed of container handling. Fleet size (flag vessels and owner vessels) ranked 28th having a carrying capacity in deadweight tonnage (DWT), and 929 Vietnamese vessels with the capacity of 9,491,311 DWT. Furthermore, during 2020, Vietnam experienced a remarkable increase in shares of carrying capacity (including both national and foreign vessels), second-greatest after the United Arab Emirates, from 0.52 to 0.59 per cent.3 Regarding the leading flags of registration by DWT, with an increase from '9,868 to 10,269 thousand DWT',4 Vietnam has seen the greatest increase and ranked 25th among 35 leading countries.

The Vietnamese government also focuses on the development of port facilities. In late 2020, the Cai Mep International Terminal Port, being one of the 20 ports in the world that has sufficient facilities and capacities, welcomed the largest container ship – M/V MARGRETHE MAERSK – so that it could enter and perform its cargo operation.

From the above figures, it can be seen that the shipping industry in Vietnam is growing strongly and at a rapid speed.

General overview of the legislative framework

The Maritime Code of Vietnam was first promulgated in 1990 and introduced the first code governing a specialised industry in Vietnam. The 1990 Maritime Code played an important role in the development of the maritime industry and the socioeconomic resources of the country. At the same time, the Maritime Code also played a role in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the state management of maritime activities in Vietnam.

After a period of implementation along with economic development and international integration, several new regulations were issued together with Vietnam's participation in a number of international treaties on maritime issues. The maritime activities in Vietnam experienced significant changes, which required the 1990 Maritime Code to be amended and supplemented to be in compliance with maritime activities as well as to meet the requirements of international integration, contributing to the development of the country's economy in general and the shipping industry in particular. Accordingly, the 2005 and then the 2015 Maritime Code were promulgated.

The most current and effective legislation is the 2015 Maritime Code, which provides regulations on commercial contracts (carriage of cargoes and passengers by sea, charter party, bill of lading, ship agent and broker, and towage) admiralty (collision, salvage, general average and limitation of liability) and marine insurance. General matters that are not specifically regulated by the Maritime Code are further governed by the 2015 Civil Code and the 2000 Law on Insurance Business (amended in 2010, 2013 and 2019), and their guidance legislation. Vietnam adopts certain international rules and conventions, including the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (the LLMC Convention 1976), the Hague-Visby Rules, and other international conventions on safety at sea, which are further analysed below.

Forum and jurisdiction

i Courts

There are no specialised maritime or admiralty courts in Vietnam. Maritime disputes are usually handled by judges, who normally have limited or no expertise on shipping matters, of commercial or civil division of the court. In general, the district-level or province-level courts where the respondent resides or has his or her registered headquarters has jurisdiction to resolve the dispute. For tort claims, the claimant can also bring his or her dispute to the court at the place where the damage occurred.

Limitation periods

The limitation periods for shipping disputes are as follows:

  1. contract of carriage of goods by sea: one year from the time of cargo delivery or the time when the cargo should have been delivered;
  2. voyage charter parties: two years from the date on which the damaged party knows or should have known that their rights and interests were infringed;
  3. charter parties: two years from the termination date of the charter party;
  4. ship agent or broker contacts: two years from the date on which the dispute occurred;
  5. towage contracts: two years from the date on which the dispute occurred;
  6. collisions: two years from the date on which the collision occurred;
  7. salvage: two years from the date on which the salvage operation was completed;
  8. maritime insurance: two years from the date on which the dispute occurred;
  9. carriage of passengers: two years in case of death, personal injury or loss, or damage of the luggage; and
  10. general average: two years from the date on which the general average event occurred.

ii Arbitration and ADR

Vietnam does not have a maritime-focused alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Generally, under the 2015 Maritime Code, parties are allowed to choose arbitration to hear their maritime dispute.

Domestic arbitration in Vietnam is governed by the 2010 Law on Commercial Arbitration (the LCA), which is relatively in line with the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. The most dominant arbitration centre in Vietnam is the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC), which frequently resolves maritime disputes.

Furthermore, considering that a maritime dispute also has commercial characteristics, the parties can choose mediation to resolve their dispute. Commercial mediation in Vietnam is regulated by Decree No. 22/2017/ND-CP on Commercial Mediation. However, mediation is a relatively new form of dispute resolution in Vietnam and accordingly, to date, there have not been any maritime disputes that have been successfully settled by mediation.

iii Enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards

Vietnam is a member of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and the fundamental principles of this Convention are adopted in the 2015 Civil Procedure Code. Particularly, the recognition of a foreign arbitral award in Vietnam is regulated by the 2015 Civil Procedure Code. The 2015 Civil Procedure Code provides a limitation period for the application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award in Vietnam, which is three years from the effective date of the award. Although the local courts have shown a pro-arbitration approach recently, due to insufficient public information, there is no concrete record on the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards relating to maritime disputes in Vietnam.

Vietnam is not a member of the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments. Instead, foreign judgments are recognised by the Vietnamese courts under the procedure set out in the 2015 Civil Procedure Code in accordance with the bilateral treaties on judicial mutual assistance or in compliance with the principle of reciprocity.

Shipping contracts

i Shipbuilding

Vietnam is a reliable destination for the construction of small ships and ship reparation. SBIC, the largest shipbuilding company, which is under the supervision of the Vietnamese government, has 11 sub-companies in all three regions of Vietnam. The 2015 Maritime Code does not provide regulations on the shipbuilding of private parties but leaves it to their discretion. The major shipbuilding contracts in Vietnam are made with foreign companies, and therefore English law is the typical choice in contracts. The standard forms that are usually used by the parties are the SAJ form, the AWES form or the Norwegian form. In general, the title over a newly built ship will normally transfer at the time of delivery or under the agreed protocol between parties.

ii Contracts of carriage

Contracts for carriage of goods by sea are governed by the 2015 Maritime Code, which adopts certain provisions of the Hague-Visby Rules and the Hamburg Rules even though Vietnam is not a signatory to these Conventions. Other non-sea carriage contracts are regulated by relevant legislation on transport of cargo by road, by air, cabotage transportation and multimodal transportation.

Duties and liabilities of the shipper

The shipper is obliged to pack cargoes in a proper way; otherwise, the carrier is entitled to decline the loading of cargoes that are not properly packed. The shipper shall also be liable for the loss or damage caused to the carrier, passengers, crew and any other owners of damaged cargoes on board for their failure to provide accurate information, especially for dangerous cargoes. In respect of dangerous cargoes, the shipper is additionally obliged to mark the goods and to have previously notified the carrier of the description, its nature and relevant safety measures.

Liens

A carrier is entitled to exercise a lien over cargo if the consignee does not present or declines to receive the cargo, or delays in receiving the cargo exceeding the time agreed in the contract for carriage of cargo by sea, or if there is more than one party presenting bill of lading, sea waybill and other documents with similar value to receive a specific cargo. The carrier should unload the cargo and place it in a warehouse to exercise a lien over it. In theory, after 60 days from the day of arrival to the discharging port, and if there is no consignee or the debt relating to the cargo has not been settled, then the carrier is entitled to sell the cargo via auction. However, in practice, there are obstacles for the carrier to exercise his or her right to sell the cargo due to certain importation requirements for custom clearance.

Operation of multimodal bills of lading

The multimodal transport operator is responsible for all stages from the time of receiving the cargo until the time of delivery. If loss or damage to cargoes has been identified during a certain phase of the voyage, the limitation of liability pursuant to the rules governing such phase shall be applied; otherwise, the limitation of liability under the Maritime Code is to be applied.

iii Cargo claims

Vietnam recognises a bill of lading as a document of title and the proof of the contract of carriage of goods by sea. Both contractual and actual carriers can be liable for the cargo claims, save for where the name of the carrier is not identified in the bill of lading; in this case, shipowners are considered as carriers. Therefore, if the carriers deliver the cargo without presenting the original bill of lading, the cargo owner who has title over the cargoes has a legitimate right to claim the carriers. Thus, the carrier usually attempts to obtain a letter of indemnity or a court order to release the cargo without surrendering the original bill of lading.

Local courts do not often consider the incorporation of a charter party. For instance, if the main carriage contract already provides a provision on the liability of the carrier, then the court will find that there is no need for them to determine the terms in the incorporated Gencon Charterparty 1994.5

Furthermore, as previously mentioned, there is no specialised maritime court in Vietnam; therefore, local courts are currently struggling to identify the limitation period for claims for loss or damage of cargo. Particularly, if a cargo claim is made between a charterer and a carrier in a voyage charter party, the limitation period is two years from the date on which the claimant knows or should have known that their rights and interests were being infringed. Conversely, if a cargo claim is made between a consignee and a carrier based on the bill of lading, the limitation period is only one year from the date of delivery or the date on which the cargoes should have been delivered. For instance, in a recent case regarding the cargo damage, the seller as shipper hired a vessel under a voyage charter party to carry cargoes to Vietnam for delivery to the buyer as consignee. At the discharging port, damage was found and the buyer subrogated the claim to their underwriters to claim against the carrier. Accordingly, this claim should have been time-barred because the time limitation is only one year for claims between the carrier and the consignee (and their subrogated underwriters) under the bill of lading. However, without an explicit explanation, the local court determined that the claim for damage of cargo of the subrogated underwriters was based on the voyage charter party, and therefore the claim was not time-barred as the limitation period is two years.6

iv Limitation of liability

Even though Vietnam is not a contracting party of the LLMC Convention 1976, several provisions of the Maritime Code 2015 resemble this. Save for the claim for oil pollution damage as defined, the scope of claims subject to limitation under the Maritime Code 2015 is the same as under the 1976 Convention. According to the Maritime Code 2015, shipowners, charterers, ship operators, salvors and underwriters of the claims subject to limitation are entitled to limit their liability, unless it is proved that the loss was caused by their default. The value of the limitation is calculated at a rate similar to that in the 1976 Convention, with vessels below 300 GT having limitation at 83,000 special drawing rights (SDRs). In addition, the Maritime Code 2015 does have a provision on setting up a limitation fund and its distribution; however, the lack of specific guidance makes the establishment of limitation fund impractical in Vietnam.

For cargo loss or damage, if the nature and value of the cargo are not declared by shippers before loading or not specified in a bill of lading, sea waybill, or in any other documents with the same legal nature, carriers are only liable for the loss or damage of cargoes not exceeding the limitation of 666.67 SDRs per package or 2 SDRs per kilogram, whichever is higher. For containerised cargo, the whole container is considered as one package or shipping unit for calculation, unless otherwise stated in the bill of lading. On the contrary, carriers are liable for the loss or damage of cargoes as declared before loading and accepted by carriers, as well as described in bills of lading. For delays, the liability is calculated at 2.5 times the carriage charge of such delayed cargoes but is not to exceed the total carriage charge, pursuant to the contract for carriage of cargoes by sea.

The carriers will lose their right to limit liability if it is proved that the loss, damage or delay in delivery of cargoes are the result of an act or omission on their part with the intention to cause such loss, damage or delay, or from the carrier recklessly acting with the knowledge that such loss, damage or delay would incur.

Remedies

i Ship arrest

Ship arrest is governed mainly by the 2008 Ordinance on the Procedures for Ship Arrest. While Vietnam is not a contracting party to the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships 1999, the Ordinance and the 2015 Maritime Code adopt a number of provisions of the International Convention. A draft of the new regulation on the arrest of ships, which replaces the 2008 Ordinance on Ship Arrest, was initiated in 2016–2017 after the establishment of the 2015 Maritime Code but, so far, has not yet been finalised and promulgated.

A vessel can be arrested in Vietnam in the following four circumstances:

  1. to secure a maritime claim;
  2. to serve as an interim relief;
  3. for the enforcement of a court judgment; or
  4. for judicial assistance.

The procedure for each circumstance is different but the two most frequent situations of ship arrest in Vietnam are to secure maritime claims and to serve as an interim relief.

Similar to the 1999 Ship Arrest Convention, Vietnamese law recognises five maritime liens and 17 maritime claims, which give rise to the ship being arrested to secure the claims. A vessel can be arrested to secure the maritime claim against the shipowner or demise charterer, who are liable for the claim and remain in their respective roles at the time of arrest. Sister ship arrest is also allowed in Vietnam.

To obtain an arrest order from the competent local court, the arresting party must submit the arrest application enclosing the following items:

  1. power of attorney;
  2. documents supporting the underlying maritime claims; and
  3. proof that the person alleged to be liable for the maritime claims was the owner or demise charterer of the vessel at the time of the application (if possible).

The court should make a decision within 48 hours of receiving the application. If the application is accepted, the applicant must submit the counter security for his or her request. The value of counter security will be subject to the determination of the court. Normally, the court can refer to the normal charter hire rate multiplied by the proposed time for arrest to decide the quantum of the counter security.

Arrest orders, however, can be issued for security purposes only. This means that the Vietnamese court cannot seize the jurisdiction to hear the merit of the case upon granting the arrest order. The arrested party may provide security for the vessel's early release. The acceptable form of the security shall be decided by the court and may vary from court to court and judge to judge.

Notably, the maximum period for arresting a vessel to secure the maritime claim in Vietnam is 30 days, and to maintain further arrest the arresting party must initiate the lawsuit against the arrested party, subject to the competent jurisdiction over their dispute.

ii Court orders for sale of a vessel

The judicial sale of arrested ships in Vietnam can be carried out in two circumstances. First, if the vessel is arrested under an interim measure and the sale of the ship is required for the enforcement of the judgment. The judicial sale of the arrested ship is governed by the Law on Civil Judgment Enforcement pursuant to the court's order in the judgment.

In particular, the local courts can consider all relevant circumstances before issuing a judgment, allowing the arresting party to initiate a judicial sale of the ship. The auction must be publicised in the media at least twice with a three-day interval between the two occasions. The length of time to complete a judicial sale can vary from case to case; in some circumstances, it may take longer than half a year before the title over the ship is transferred.

Second, if the ship is abandoned upon the expiry of the period to arrest a vessel to secure the maritime claim, then a judicial sale of ship is to be made in which the proceeds from the ship sale will be submitted to the state's budget. However, in practice, we have not experienced any judicial sale of arrested ship in this second circumstance.

Regulation

i Safety

Vietnam is a contracting party to the following conventions relating to safety at sea:

  1. the International Convention on Load Lines 19966 (the Load Lines Convention) and the Load Lines Protocol 1988;
  2. the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969 (the Tonnage Convention);
  3. the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGs);
  4. the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS) and its 1978 and 1988 Protocols;
  5. the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW);
  6. the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 (as modified by the Protocol of 1978) (MARPOL 73/78), MARPOL Protocol 97;
  7. the Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organization 1976 (the INMARSAT Convention);
  8. the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988 (1988 SUA Convention);
  9. the Conventional Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships 2001 (the AFS Convention);
  10. the 1992 Protocol replacing International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969 (the 1992 CLC Convention);
  11. the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 (the Bunker Convention); and
  12. the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC).

The provisions of the above Conventions are adopted into various laws, decrees and circulars for its domestic implementation.

ii Port state control

The various port authorities are state agencies that perform the management of maritime activities in seaports. There are currently 25 port authorities around Vietnam that are under the management of the VINAMARINE. The port director of each seaport has the authority to regulate, restrict and prevent the movement of vessels in the port and their approach to the port, and may direct the berthing and removal of any vessel in accordance with the 2015 Maritime Code, Circular No. 07/2018/TT-BGTVT and each seaport's internal regulations. In particular, the inspection of foreign vessels is to be conducted for their compliance with SOLAS, the Load Lines Convention, the MARPOL, the STCW Convention, the Tonnage Convention, the AFS Convention, the MLC and the COLREGs.

According to the Asia-Pacific PSC, in 2021, the Vietnam port authorities have detained three foreign vessels for deficiencies. Two of the detained vessels were released within a week, while a Mongolian vessel was detained for over half a year before its release in Ho Chi Minh City. Conversely, during 11 months in 2021, there were nine Vietnamese vessels that were detained in Asian ports under the Tokyo MOU, and one was detained in Colombo, Sri Lanka under the Indian MOU.7

iii Registration and classification

Registration

Ship registration in Vietnam is governed by Chapter II of the 2015 Maritime Code and Decree No. 171/2016/ND-CP amended by Decree No. 86/2020/ND-CP.

Pursuant to those regulations, Vietnamese vessels must satisfy the following criteria to be registered:

  1. self-propelled with main engine capacity of at least 75 kilowatts;
  2. non-self-propelled with a gross tonnage of at least 50 GT or a deadweight tonnage of at least 100 tonnes or a designated lead waterline length of at least 20 metres; and
  3. seagoing vessels that have failed to satisfy the aforementioned criteria but travel international shipping routes.

Furthermore, foreign flags must not be more than 10 years old (for passenger ships) or 15 years old (for other ships) at the time of their first registration in Vietnam. For vessels under construction, once the keel has been laid, it can be registered.

Vietnamese and foreign companies, individuals and entities that have incorporated and are operating a branch in Vietnam or have established a representative office in Vietnam may file an application to register their vessels with local ship registers.

While dual registration is not allowed, flagging out of a vessel can be done in Vietnamese waters for demise charters or ship hire and purchase. To register the vessel in Vietnam, the current foreign-flag registration of the vessel needs to be suspended during the period of flagging out.

The required dossier for permanent registration of a vessel in Vietnam includes:

  1. the ship registration application as a standard form;
  2. in case of a sale, the deregistration or deletion certificate from the current register, or in case of new construction, acceptance minutes for ship delivery;
  3. the ship sale contract, shipbuilding contract or other prevalent proof of title over the ship to be registered;
  4. the ship tonnage certificate;
  5. the ship classification certificate;
  6. payment receipt of registration fee; and
  7. the shipowner's certificate of incorporation, branch or representative office licence in Vietnam in case of entities, or identity card in case of individuals.

Recently, the Vietnam Maritime Administration issued a document informing the shipowners on the newly established Decree No. 123/2021/ND-CP relating to the supplementation and aggravation of administrative sanctions on ship registration. Relating to ship registration and deregistration, certain provisions may generally be breached, including, inter alia, that the shipowner does not:

  1. register the change in ship information;
  2. change the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate under the provisions of Regulation 14 of Chapter V of SOLAS 1974 as amended when the ship operator or manager changes; and
  3. carry out deregistration pursuant to the law.8

Classification

The only local classification society that has the authority to approve the classification of a vessel is the Vietnam Register (VR). However, there are 13 classification societies that are members of the International Association of Classification Societies with the approval of VR, from which the candidate vessel can obtain certificates, including:

  1. the American Bureau of Shipping;
  2. Bureau Veritas;
  3. the China Classification Society;
  4. Lloyd's Register;
  5. Germanischer Lloyd;
  6. Det Norske Veritas;
  7. the Korean Register of Shipping;
  8. Nippon Kaigi Kyokai;
  9. Registro Italiano Navale;
  10. the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping;
  11. the Croatian Register of Shipping;
  12. the Indian Register of Shipping; and
  13. the Polish Register of Shipping.

In theory, an injured third party may file a claim in tort against the classification society if a duty of care owned by the classification society is breached by negligent misstatement causing pecuniary loss to the claimant. To date, we have not experienced any such case in Vietnam.

iv Environmental regulation

Air and sea pollution is governed by the 2020 Law on Environment Protection. Recently, the Ministry of Transport has approved a project for the development of green ports in Vietnam. As a member of UNCLOS 1982, Vietnam has actively implemented various protection and preventative measures to protect sea environment and habitat, with the main focus on the reduction and prevention of oil pollution at sea.

The Vietnam Maritime Administration has also been conducting necessary measures to put a limit on the amount of sulphur in fuel oil and there are some limitations for the sulphur content in fuel oil used in different territorial waters of Vietnam

v Collisions, salvage and wrecks

Collisions

Vietnam is a member of the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Furthermore, ship collision is also governed by the 2015 Maritime Code.

Salvage and wreck removal

Vietnam has ratified the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. However, Vietnam is not a contracting party to either the International Convention on Salvage 1989 or the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks. Therefore, the operation of salvage and wreck removal is mainly governed by the 2015 Maritime Code and Decree No. 05/2017/ND-CP regarding the regulation on treatment properties sunk in inland waterways, port waters and territorial waters of Vietnam.

Accordingly, the owner of the sunken properties (e.g., the shipowner) is responsible for performing the salvage and wreck removal. In cases of sunken ships, if the shipowner is slow or unidentified or fails to submit and perform the removal plan approved by the local authorities, the local authorities are entitled to initiate the wreck removal operation and seek reimbursement from the shipowner or sell the wreck through auction to reimburse the salvage costs.

In practice, the local authorities tend to chase the shipowners and their insurers for the salvage and wreck removal. In an emergency case such as oil leakage, the local authorities usually perform certain preventative measures to reduce the risk of environment pollution at sea.

vi Passengers' rights

Vietnam is not a contracting party to the Athens Convention. The rights of passengers are governed by Chapter VIII of the 2015 Maritime Code and Chapter XVI of the 2015 Civil Code. Notably, Vietnam invalidates any agreement on the prevention of passengers' rights or release, which reduces the liabilities of the carrier under Chapter VIII of the 2015 Maritime Code.

Furthermore, the carriers are also liable to compensate the passengers, and the passengers are entitled to claim in cases of personal death, injury or loss, or damage to luggage due to the default of carriers, their employees or agents. The default of carriers, their employees or agents is prima facie unless it is proven to be due to collision, wreck, destruction, draught, explosion, fire, defect or latent defects, or due to loss or damage to luggage (if it is proved that the loss or damage is not attributable to the cause of such loss or damage).

vii Seafarers' rights

Vietnam is the 37th country to have ratified the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention, on 23 March 2013. In late July 2013, the Prime Minister established a plan for the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention.9 Accordingly, the Vietnamese government has established a number of regulations guiding the implementation of certain provisions of the Convention, including, inter alia, Decree No. 121/2014/ND-CP dated 24 December 2014 of the government regarding the working conditions of seafarers employed aboard ships. These provisions were later adopted into Chapter III of the current 2015 Maritime Code. In addition to the 2015 Maritime Code, seafarers' rights are also governed by the 2019 Labour Code and the 2015 Civil Code, as well as their respective guiding regulations.

Vietnam also recognises several maritime liens attached with claims against the shipowner, charterer and operator. Among those claims, the claim with the highest priority for resolution is the claim for the seafarers' salary, repatriation cost, social insurance contribution cost and other monetary amounts, which must be paid to the master, officer and other seafarers in the crew aboard a ship.10

Outlook

Vietnamese maritime law has not kept up with the pace of growth in trade and shipping because the shipping industry in Vietnam has faced rapid development. However, the recent impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the global shipping industry may cause the Vietnamese government to focus on the development of port facilities, as well as making ship fleets and capacities gain benefit from this growing industry. Positive amendments and supplements of the regulations on maritime activities are expected to keep the Vietnamese shipping laws closer to international standards and to support the development of the shipping industry in Vietnam.

Footnotes

1 Dang Vu Minh Ha is a partner and cohead of shipping practice and Tran Trung Hieu is an associate at Dzungsrt & Associates LLC.

4 The Review of Maritime Transport 2021, p. 37; available at https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/rmt2021_en_0.pdf.

5 Judgment No. 94A/2008/KT-PT dated 29 April 2008 of the Hanoi Appellate Court of the Supreme People's Court.

6 Judgment No. 28/2020/KDTM-PT dated 6 May 2020 of the People's Court of Hanoi City.

10 Article 41 of the Maritime Code 2015.

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