The former high endurance cutter Morgenthau was originally commissioned in 1969 and was decommissioned in mid-April ahead of the planned transfer.
The transfer comes as tensions in the South China Sea continue to simmer between China and its neighbors. Vietnam’s inability to control access to its own exclusive economic zone was put in stark relief when a Chinese oil rig operated in 2014. Since the incident, Vietnam has reportedly moved to expand its Coast Guard fleet.
The United States has also delivered six coastal patrol boats to Vietnam’s coast guard in a move that expands the two nation’s security cooperation amid tension in the disputed South China Sea.
Vietnam and China along with four others including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim all or parts of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea believed to sit on rich natural resources and occupies one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.
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