Vietnamese mini-sub needs further permits to launch

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Nguyen Quoc Hoa, a business man from Thai Binh Province, climbs into a submarine built by his mechanics company during a public ceremony in March 28. PHOTO BY HOANG LONG

Thai Binh Province officials cited safety concerns in their rejection of a local businessman’s request to test-drive a mini-submarine in provincial waters.
The device was publicly unveiled in a private reservoir, in March.
A statement issued by the provincial government informed the submarine's owner, Nguyen Quoc Hoa, that his request will be forwarded to the Ministry of National Defense so the submarine can be tested at a Navy Command zone, VnExpress reported Monday.
Hoa had previously asked to test his submarine 12 kilometers from a local port on April 29. The Truong Sa sub was produced last year by his mechanical company Quoc Hoa.
The province said the request “was not suitable and cannot be approved yet.”
The company hadn't checked relevant geographical and hydrological information and its testing plan lacked details, particularly as regards to safety and rescue measures.
It said Thai Binh Province lacks the aquatic rescue equipment necessary to assist him in the event of an accident.
The statement said the province has asked local police, science and transportation firms and border guard units to help the company perfect its plan.
Hoa said he is working on applying for support and a testing license from the defense ministry.
“I’m just afraid that it will take a very long time for the Truong Sa to be tested,” he told VnExpress.
Hoa said the provincial government should have asked him to be present during their decision making process so he could have the chance to explain his plan more.
The nearly ten ton sub was presented to the public for the first time on March 28 during a trial run held in the man-made lake of a private industrial zone that includes Hoa’s company.
Local police and government officials observed the trial launch to maintain public order; they claim he did not require a license at the time as the launch was held in private area.
The lake was not deep enough for the submarine to completely submerge but Hoa said it successfully dove and rose during seven tests in a tank built at the company. Those tests were attended by leaders from the Military Ship Design Institute at the defense ministry.
The submarine is 8.8 meters long, three meters high and 2.8 meters at its widest point.
Its surfaced weight is nine tons; submerged, it is 12 tons. It is designed to travel up to 20 nautical miles an hour and 50 meters in 15 hours while submurged.

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