The setback came as discouraging news to Nguyen Quoc Hoa, developer of the sub, and other interested scientists.
Hoa and his colleagues had been convinced that the testing license was forthcoming from the local authorities, right up until the final decision was made. Vu Manh Hien, Director of the Thai Binh Department of Science and Technology, had told the local press on April 23 that he was certain that the Truong Sa would receive permission to go to sea.
“I cannot see any problems with the experiment. All new products need to be tested,” he told the Dat Viet newspaper.
Hoa had expressed his hope that his sub’s first outing at sea could take place on April 29, to coincide with the 39th anniversary of the Saigon Liberation Day and the nation’s reunion.
Just two days later, however, Hoa received a dispatch from Thai Binh’s People’s Committee. The missive applauded Hoa’s determination and expressed its support for the sub testing plan. But it went on to state that Hoa would not be allowed to test his sub in Thai Binh waters.
“The plan to test the sub in territorial waters, in the Diem Dien port area, about 12 kilometers offshore, at 11 am to 3 pm, is unreasonable and cannot be implemented,” the dispatch reads.
“The Quoc Hoa Mechanical Engineering Company (Hoa’s private business) still has not conducted the necessary surveys on the geographical and hydrographical conditions, and it has not demonstrated the measures to be taken to ensure safety for humans,” it continued.
As if to soften the rough edges of its rejection, Thai Binh added a word of advice: seek the support of the Ministry of National Defense, and consider testing the sub at the Navy High Command Region 1.
Commenting about officials’ decision, Hoa said: “Given this new reality, I will have to take the proposal to a higher level, as it is clear that the sub’s testing cannot be conducted in the territorial waters where it was born”.
Hoa said he regrets that he was not invited to the officials’ meeting to discuss the sub’s testing. “Those who made decision on my case do not have deep knowledge of submarine technology. Therefore, they feared the testing could be unsafe,” Hoa said.
“They said the water level would be low on April 29, thus unsuitable for the testing. However, I have learnt from the Hydrology Department that this was a time of high tide, and would have been a good day for testing,” he maintained.
Phan Boi Tran, known as the developer of the first mini-submarine in Southeast Asia, said if Hoa can get support from the Navy High Command Region 1, the testing would be easier and safer. There would be four ships following Truong Sa during testing, and one more ship with a large crane to be ready for an emergency.
* Notícia publicada a Vietnamnet. Com veiem, més enllà dels contratemps concrets, Vietnam es pren seriosament la seva indústria de defensa, i més concretament la naval.