DK1 rig house - Sacred Milestones of Sovereignty at Sea

147 delegates from Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam People's Navy visited officers and soldiers on the DK1/10 rig house (Ca Mau's waters) last September.
October 10, 2022 | 17:04

DK1 is an economic-scientific-technical service cluster built in the form of rigs on the southern continental shelf of Vietnam, lying about 250-350 nautical miles from the mainland.

To get to the rig, the delegates had to travel by speedboat. Captain Tran Huu Xuan, Commander of the DK1/10 rig, said storms and strong waves had affected the rig construction and the unit's operations. However, DK1/10 officers and soldiers were determined to overcome all difficulties to protect Vietnam's sovereignty at sea.

Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Nguyen Van Hieu, appreciated the soldiers' hard work. He said the trip was of great significance, giving delegates a chance to see with their own eyes the difficult duties of rig house soldiers and officers.

DK1 rig house - Sacred Milestones of Sovereignty at Sea
Sailors use motorboats to transport goods from Kien Ngu KN-290 to the DK1/10 rig. (Photo: Vu Doan/ Thanh Nien)

Over the past 30 years, the DK1 rigs have become a symbol of affirming Vietnam's sovereignty landmark at sea.

Colonel Nguyen Quy, former Director of Technical Department - Engineer Command (Ministry of Defense), is among those who laid the foundation for the construction of the DK1 rig. Colonel Nguyen Quy said, due to the escalation of disputes in the South China Sea, Vietnam's Ministry of Defense was determined to construct DK1 rigs to mark and guard the country's sovereignty over the sea and islands.

Referring to the strategic vision of DK1 project, Quy said, Admiral Giap Van Cuong, former Commander of the Navy, directed the 171st Brigade to survey the continental shelf of the South China Sea and discovered 6 coral reefs with peaks lying 9-50m below sea level. At the request of the Navy and the Ministry of National Defense, on October 17, 1988, General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh signed a decision to carry out the construction of the "Economic - scientific - technical service stations." After that, a DK1 Steering Committee was established with former Vice President Tran Duc Luong as head of the committee.

DK1 rig house - Sacred Milestones of Sovereignty at Sea
A rig house in Que Duong. (Photo: Thanh Nien)

On November 6, 1988, the HQ-713 and HQ-668 fleet of ships led by Lieutenant Colonel Pham Xuan Hoa, Brigade Commander of the Navy 171st Brigade, and the survey team crossed the waves to the continental shelf. After nearly 7 months of survey, on June 10, 1989, the first rig house was completed, firmly standing in the middle of the South China Sea as a "special national sovereignty landmark at sea".

The establishment of DK1 is a right and wise policy, which demonstrates the high determination of the Party, State, Central Military Commission, and Ministry of National Defense in enhancing economic development while protecting maritime sovereignty on the country's southern continental shelf.

To protect national sovereignty and jurisdiction over the southern continental shelf, navy officers and soldiers on rigs are on watch day and night, ready to fight and protect the assigned area. The rigs also collect data on climate, weather, and hydrology for marine research so that ships have reliable forecasts to fish and exploit minerals.

"The DK1 rig house not only collects scientific information and serves the marine economy, it is also the milestone to affirm the sovereignty on the continental shelf and the oil and gas potential of Vietnam," said Nguyen Quy.

DK1 rig house - Sacred Milestones of Sovereignty at Sea
A ship approaching DK1/12 rig house. (Photo: Thanh Nien)

To meet the requirements of defense tasks, and ensure the training for combat readiness, from 2012, Vietnam invested in upgrading and repairing the two first rigs, DK1/14 and DK1/15. The next 8 rigs in Tu Chinh, Ba Ke, Huyen Tran, Phuc Tan, and Que Duong clusters were also upgraded. All these rigs are designed and built by the oil and gas industry according to advanced technology.

Nowadays, officers and soldiers on the DK1 rigs are proud and excited to work in solid and modern rig houses standing firm in the middle of the ocean. Lieutenant Colonel Le Xuan Nam, once commander of the DK1/2 rig, said: “We are reassured and excited to take on the duty of protecting the Fatherland on the rig house".

Over the past 33 years, from the first rig with only 13 officers and soldiers, now the DK1 cluster has15 rigs with hundreds of officers and soldiers and has become an independent force in Naval Region 2. DK1 officers are in charge of guarding the sea, and detecting and reporting the targets of ships and aircraft. Generations of officers and soldiers of the DK1 rigs have been devoted to defending the sovereignty of Vietnam's sacred continental shelf. Together with the Coast Guard, Fisheries Resources Surveillance, and Navy forces of Region 2, they form a strong force to protect the sea.

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