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Vietnam Maritime Code

THE VIETNAM MARITIME CODE
                                      (No. 40/2005/QH11)                                   
Pursuant to the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which was amended and supplemented under Resolution No. 51/2001/QH10 of December 25, 2001 of the Xth National Assembly, the 10th session;
This Code provides for maritime shipping activities,

Chapter I
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. – Scope of regulation
1. This Code provides for maritime shipping activities, covering seagoing vessels, crew, seaports, marine navigable channels, ocean shipping, marine navigation safety, marine navigation security, prevention of environmental pollution and other activities related to the use of seagoing vessels for economic, cultural, social, sport, public service and scientific research purposes.
Military vessels, public-duty vessels, fishing vessels, inland waterway crafts, hydroplanes, military ports, fishing ports and inland waterway ports and wharves shall be governed by this Code only in cases where there are relevant specific provisions of this Code.

2. Where the provisions of the Vietnam Maritime Code are different from those of other laws on the same issue relating to maritime shipping activities, the provisions of this Code shall apply.

Article 2. – Subjects of application
1. This Code shall apply to Vietnamese organizations and individuals and foreign organizations and individuals involved in maritime shipping activities in Vietnam .
2. In cases where international agreements to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a contracting party contain provisions different from those of this Code, the provisions of such international agreements shall apply.

Article 3. – Principle of application of laws in case of conflict of laws
1. Legal relations relating to ownership of property on board seagoing vessels, charterparties, crew employment contracts, contracts of carriage of passengers and luggage, the division of salvage remuneration between the owner and crew of the salving ship, the recovery of property sunk on the high seas or incidents occurring on board seagoing vessels on the high seas, shall be governed by the laws of the flag states.
2. Legal relations relating to general average shall be governed by the law in force in the country of the place where the seagoing vessel calls at immediately after such general average occurs.
3. Legal relations relating to collision, salvage remuneration, or the recovery of property sunk in the internal waters or territorial sea of a country shall be governed by the law of such country.
Legal relations relating to collisions or salvage operations performed on the high seas shall be governed by the law of the country whose arbitration or court is the first to deal with the dispute.
Collisions occurring on the high seas or the internal waters or territorial sea of another country between seagoing vessels of the same nationality shall be governed by the law of the flag state.
4. Legal relations relating to contracts of carriage of cargo shall be governed by the law of the country where the cargo is delivered as contracted.

Article 4. – Right to reach agreement in contracts
1. Parties to contracts relating to maritime shipping may reach separate agreements, which are not restricted by this Code.
2. Parties to contracts relating to maritime shipping at least one of which is a foreign organization or individual may agree to apply foreign laws or international maritime customs to their contractual relations and the choice of an arbitration or a court in either of their countries or in a third country for settlement of their disputes.
3. If its is provided for in this Code or agreed upon by the parties in their contracts, foreign laws may be applied in Vietnam to contractual relations relating to maritime shipping, provided that such laws do not contravene the fundamental principles of Vietnamese law.

Article 5. – Principles of maritime shipping
Maritime shipping must comply with the provisions of this Code, other provisions of Vietnamese law, and treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a contracting party.
Maritime shipping must ensure marine navigation safety, defense and security; protect the interests, sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Maritime shipping must comply with the national socio-economic development strategy as well as strategies, plannings and plans for transport for transport development.
Maritime shipping must ensure economic efficiency combined with protection, improvement and development of the environment and natural landscapes in a sustainable manner.

Article 6. – Maritime development policies
The State prioritizes investment in developing seaport infrastructure facilities in service of national or inter-regional socio-economic development; increasing the shipping capacity of Vietnamese fleets, transferring and applying maritime scientific and technological advances.
The State adopts policies to encourage all Vietnamese and foreign organizations and individuals to develop Vietnamese fleets, seaport infrastructure facilities and carry out other maritime shipping activities in Vietnam.

Article 7. – The right to domestic carriage
1. Vietnamese seagoing vessels shall enjoy priority to conduct domestic carriage of cargoes, passengers and luggage.
2. When Vietnamese seagoing vessels are incapable of domestic carriage, foreign seagoing vessels may participate in domestic carriage in the following cases:
a. Carrying extra-long and extra-heavy cargoes or other kinds of cargoes by seagoing vessels exclusively used for this purpose;
b. Preventing, controlling, remedying the consequences of, natural disasters, epidemics or rendering emergency relief;
c. Transporting passengers and luggage from tourist passenger vessels to the land and vice versa
3. The Transport Minister shall decide on the cases specified at Points a and b, Clause 2 of this Article.
Directors of port authorities shall decide on the cases specified at Point c, Clause 2 of this Article.

Article 8. – Responsibilities of state management of maritime shipping
1. The Government performs uniform state management of maritime shipping.
2. The Transport Ministry is responsible to the Government for performing the state management of maritime shipping.
3. Ministries and ministerial – level agencies shall, within the scope of their respective tasks and powers, have to coordinate with the Transport Ministry in performing the state management of maritime shipping.
4. People’s Committees at all levels shall, within the scope of their tasks and powers, have to perform the state management of maritime shipping in localities.

Article 9. – Maritime inspectorate
1. The maritime inspectorate is attached to the Transport Ministry’s Inspectorate and performs the specialized maritime inspection functions.
2. The organization, functions, tasks and powers of the Maritime Inspectorate shall comply with the provisions of this Code and the provisions of law on inspection.

Article 10. – Prohibited acts in maritime shipping
1. Causing harms or threatening to cause harms to the sovereignty and security of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
2. Carrying persons, cargoes, luggage, weapons, radioactive matters, hazardous wastes and narcotic drugs in contravention of the provisions of law.
3. Intentionally creating obstructions, causing danger to or obstructing navigation.
4. Using, operating seagoing vessels without registration, registry or with expired registration, registry or with forged registration, registry.
5. Refusing to participate in search and rescue at sea even though practical conditions permit.
6. Causing environmental pollution
7. Infringing upon the file, health, honor and dignity of persons on board seagoing vessels; appropriating, intentionally damaging or destroying property on board seagoing vessels; fleeing after causing maritime accidents.
8. Disturbing public order, obstructing or resisting persons on public duty on board seagoing vessels and at seaports.
9. Abusing one’s position and powers to act against regulations on maritime shipping management; tolerating, covering persons committing violations of maritime law.10. Other prohibited acts in maritime shipping as provided for by law.