Spica Vietnam


2 Phung Khac Khoan St
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City

Phone: (84) 28-3823 2527
Fax: (84) 28-3823 2530
Email: claims@spica.com.vn

After Office Hours Contact:

Eske Munk
(84) 93 188 7196

Le Ha Binh
(84) 903-831 442

Nguyen Duc Tam
(84) 906 614 916

Phan Lynn
(84) 903 001 063

Nguyen Hoang Thanh Trang (Ms Trang)
(84) 28 2823 2527 (office)

Mr Tran Minh Tai
(84) 905122714 (mobile)


Many of the stringent restrictions introduced during the height of the pandemic in Vietnam in 2021 have been or are being relaxed. This means medical evacuations have become easier and that crew changes are possible although some travel restrictions still apply upon entry. Diligent planning is recommended where possible. It should be noted that a vessel with Covid onboard will still face difficulties.

Update on the situation concerning arrest of vessels in Southern Vietnamese Ports

The IG P&I Clubs and other vessel liability insurers will be aware of Vietnam’s reputation as a hotbed for cargo claims and the frequent arrests that follow. The problems that ships, and in particular dry bulk trades experience, have been described comprehensively by Spica Vietnam in previous Loss Prevention notices and updates. Whilst there has been some variation in frequency of arrests, the problem persists unabated until now, especially in South Vietnam.

In South Vietnam the Maritime Authorities of Vung Tau (VTMA) oversee some of Vietnam’s busiest seaports such as Cai Mep and Phu My, and the larger anchorage area off the coast of Vung Tau. Many Ship owners and Clubs will be familiar with the pattern of arrests in the jurisdiction of Baria Vung Tau.

The VTMA convened a meeting on 06 October 2020 with the purpose of addressing the incessant issue of arrests of ships. The background of the meeting is a concern that the number of arrests in the jurisdiction has the potential to negatively affect the investment and operational environment of Baria Vung Tau Province.

The meeting saw the participation of stakeholders and interested parties including but not limited to the Maritime Authority itself, cargo importers/receivers, cargo insurers, surveyors, vessel agents and lawyers and importantly the court of Baria Vung Tau. During the meeting the various parties were given a chance to explain their views and the rationale behind their positions. Whereas criticism of the current practices was delivered by vessel agents and lawyers one important take away from the meeting, is that the representatives of the Court participated and had an opportunity to listen to the calls of other participants.

We feel that the meeting is an encouraging development, it showing an increasing awareness of the practical problems and economic damage, the recurrent arrests cause to ship owners and the wider maritime community in South Vietnam.

We wish to mention however, that no revisions to the legislative framework allowing for arrests have been made, and it therefore remains the case that a 0.5 % trade allowance is not recognized in law.

Whilst we are hopeful that the Court will exercise restraint in granting arrest orders and that Club Letters of Undertaking will come to be accepted and recognized widely as security, we are concerned that that the underlying problematic practices employed by the cargo interests will most likely not change. It is these deliberate attempts to manipulate draft figures and exert unreasonable pressure on the Masters, that creates the basis for fanciful shortage claims in the first instance, and without the presence of suitable P&I cargo surveyor to rein in the worst excesses, these spurious cargo claims will still be given a chance to materialize. As such, whilst we continue to monitor the numbers and mechanics of arrests, it remains our recommendation to appoint a competent P&I draft surveyor from a Loss Prevention perspective.

Do not hesitate to contact the Spica Vietnam Team for further information or inquiries.

Mr. Eske Munk is the Chief Representative of Spica Services Vietnam. Eske is a Danish lawyer with previous sea going experience. He has worked for two different International Group P&I Clubs  over a period of eight years serving in Copenhagen,  London and Hong Kong where he attained P+I, FD&D and Charterers Liability claims handling experience prior to joining Spica. Eske also holds a LLM degree in Maritime Law from Swansea University.

In the office Spica HCMC is served further by Mr. Le Ha Binh, a senior Claims Executive and working with Spica since 1994. Binh has a degree from the Vietnam Maritime University in Engineering.

Mr. Tam Nguyen Duc has been with Spica HCMC since 2014, previously working at sea up to 3rd Officer. He then worked with PICO (marine) surveyors following which he worked for Baoviet Tokyo Marine Insurance as a claims executive. Tam is currently engaged in further academic development with the ANZIIF.

Ms. Lynn Phan (Phan Thi Bich Lien) has been with Spica since 1997. She is a qualified accountant and divides her time between dealing with Personal Injury Claims, advising on Labour Code issues and assessing audited financial statements submitted as part of business interruption claims. Lynn also has a degree of Bachelor in Laws”

Nguyen Hoang Thanh Trang (Ms. Trang) joined Spica on May 1st 2018. She graduated from Ho Chi Minh City Open University with a major in Business English. She divides her time between Office Administration tasks, in house translation and assisting with claims handling.

Mr. Tranh Minh Tai studied at Ho Chi Minh City Maritime University and later trained and completed training as a Marine officer with a large Dutch ship owner operating a fleet of chemical and petroleum tankers. He then worked for a global multi-service survey and inspection company attending on ships calling Vietnam before he joined Spica in 2022 where he is working as a claims handler.

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