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Decree No. 11/2021/ND-CP officially replaced Decree No. 51/2014/ND-CP dated May 21, 2014 of the Government regulating the allocation of certain marine areas to organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources from March 30, 2021.

Ta Dinh Thi, Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said this is an important document that institutionalises the Party's guidelines and the State's policies and laws on marine economic development associated with ensuring national defence and security and the protection of environmental and marine and island ecosystems in line with the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Marine Economy by 2030 and vision to 2045.

It is expected to contribute to realising the goal of turning Vietnam into a powerful marine nation, in which the marine economic sectors’ contribution to GDP will represent 10 percent.

The new decree regulates that all activities of organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources must be implemented in marine areas they have been allocated, except the use of marine areas for defence and security purposes.

It states that sea areas allocated to organisations and individuals will be considered and decided upon on a case-by-case basis. The time frame for using allocated marine areas will not exceed 30 years, and while this can be extended many times, the total duration of such extensions must not exceed 20 years.

Under the decree, the four State agencies and competent authorities with the right to allocate marine areas include the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the People’s Committees of coastal provinces and coastal districts.

Cases that are not required to allocate marine areas include scientific research by Vietnamese organisations and individuals (except for scientific research using fixed marine areas and those conducted by foreign organisations and individuals in Vietnam’s territorial waters), the measurement, observation, investigation, survey, and assessment of marine resources, and activities to resolve the direct consequences of natural disasters or environmental incidents at sea.

Thi said marine areas for the construction, installation, and operation of works serving the national and public interest and those for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, transport oil, and gas resources taken ashore by pipelines under the Prime Minister’s decision are not required to pay fees for the use of marine areas.

The Prime Minister will decide on exemptions of fees for using marine areas in other cases submitted by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, activities using maritime areas allocated by relevant State management agencies must pay fees for the use of marine areas in the regulated price bracket and level.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to propose the Government make adjustments to the price bracket for using maritime areas in each period, to suit the socio-economic conditions./.