Japan’s Mitsui to build patrol boats for Vietnam

Japan’s Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and the maritime division of T7 Global Berhad, an investment holding group based in Malaysia, have entered an agreement to co-operate on building ships for the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) and Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG).

The new agreement – signed in late August and announced in early September – highlights increasing efforts under way in Japan to explore defence export opportunities in Southeast Asia.

Japan’s Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, which in January launched Japan’s third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship (pictured), has signed an agreement with Malaysian firm T7 Marine to explore naval vessel opportunities in Vietnam.

In a filing to the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, T7 Global said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by T7 Marine – its wholly owned subsidiary – and focuses on collaboration with Mitsui across “various activities and to explore new business opportunities to supply ships” to the VPN and VCG.

According to the MOU, the two companies will leverage each other’s experience and expertise in exploring shipbuilding opportunities in Vietnam and look to secure new business contracts in that Southeast Asian country. The MOU runs for three years, with an option to extend.

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The MOU offered no additional details about the companies’ joint engagement in Vietnam.

Mitsui is one of Japan’s biggest naval shipbuilders. The company’s experience and capabilities include the construction of destroyers, survey ships, patrol vessels, and landing platform docks for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

In June 2019 Mitsui unveiled its design proposal to fulfil a new JMSDF programme to procure 12 offshore patrol vessels, and in January the company launched the third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship for the JMSDF. The first two ships in the class entered service in the early 1990s.

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