SEA SHIPMENT OF SOVIET MILITARY CARGOES: THE VIETNAMESE CASE
DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE Office of Research and Reports
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Office of Research and Reports6
Sea Shipment of Soviet Military Cargoes: The Vietnamese Case
1. There is no firm evidence that the USSR has shipped military materiel to North Vietnam by sea. Some items useful to militaryinstance, trucks, certain oil products andbeen sent there by sea, but no weapons are known to have arrived.
large-hatch ship, developed to ease cargo handling,ermanent and growing fixture of the Soviet merchant fleet. These ships haveimplications for the arms trade as they enable large pieces of equipment, at one time limited to shipment on deck, to be stowed in the hold. The USSR, apparently to reduce cargo handling problems in ports of recipient countries. In most cases continues to place large military crates on deck. It is known, however, to have stored MIG aircraft crates below deck, for example inelivery to Cuba. At that time it was evident the ship carried acargo, but its composition was not determined until after arrival.
Large-hatch ships have been regularlyin the Vietnamese trade. In45 such ships comprisedercent of the Soviet ships serving North Vietnam. ifteen largo-hatch ships called at Haiphong in voyages fairly evenly dispersed throughout the year.
9, Currently four large-hatch ships are en route to North Vietnam. None has the characteristics of an arms carrier. Two are scheduled to unload cargoes in nonbloc countries en route to North These ships are carrying constructionvehicles, fertilizer,and foodstuffs for.
of the ship in the Suez Canal showed that it had aboutrucks on deck.
he fourth large-hatch ship, the Bratslav, declared at the Turkishons of cargo for North Vietnam,ight load,
Otherwise, its behavior
to date is not in the pattern of an arms carrier.information can be expected because itsin Haiphong will not occur much beforeebruary.
12. The USSR has already displayed sensitivity to US observation of its shipping to North Vietnam. Soviet experience in the Cuban affair, when the USSR found it necessary to turn back its arms carriers, may be one reason why military deliveries to North Vietnam have been restricted to overland routes. Should the USSR decide to initiate militaryby sea to North Vietnam, it is likely the ship movement will be directoviet port and Haiphong, avoiding any possible observation of cargo in nonbloc ports. Currently about half the Soviet dry-cargo vessels traveling to North Vietnam also deliver cargo to other ports before calling at Haiphong.Original document.