Cummins Hotips#822               October 2017

Trường Sa fishing boat in the Mekong Delta.

Her green hull siting solidly in the shallows near shore the fishing vessel Trường Sa slowly begins to right herself with the raising tide. As an off-shore fishing vessel, and as her name attests, she is built for deeper waters than this. Trường Sa is the name of the group islands off the coast of Vietnam whose fishing grounds are claimed by foreign nations. Trường Sa’s owner fishes these and other waters on a regular basis.

A new boat at shipyard in Mekong Delta.

As one of hundreds of mid-size vessels in the Vietnamese fleet, she has the grace and beam of a typical craft of her class. However a closer examination of her classic wooden hull reveals a popular trend in some Vietnamese wooden boat yards. Her hull, decks, and superstructure are entirely encased in fiberglass cloth and layers of composite.

Then they are covered with two layers of fiberglass cloth. The first layer is nailed to the hull with small, large-head nails.

This is not done, as in some countries, as a desperate attempt to get a few more years out of a tired wood boat. The Trường Sa is a modern new boat with a brand new 800 HP, Cummins KTA38-M0 main engine. A visit to nearby shipyards shows a number of similar vessels under construction. In most cases the same Cummins KTA38-M0 main engine will power them and they will have the same layers of fiberglass cloth.

Sawing frames for new boat in background

In the shipyard, a perfect boat of some 20+meters is built. Caulking of wood fibers is overlaid with some form of paste. When the hull is finished and faired and a layer of cloth and resin is laid on. This first layer of cloth is held in place by thousands of small nails (2.5 cm.) with large heads 9 m/m). Next a second layer of glass cloth is laid and covered with resin. Finally the boat is painted and launched.

Band saw mill at shipyard, near Dong Moi-Sua Chua Tau Thuyen, Vietnam.

The internal sawn frames are no longer fastened with wooden trunnels but with extensive use of iron nuts bolts and washers. A skill saw and a steady hand, following lines from patterns traced onto thick slabs, cut the frames. They are then painted and bolted in place. An on-site band-saw mill cuts the slabs from raw logs.

Signs for shipyard in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

There has been an extensive government-encouraged built program for fishing boats in Vietnam. One of the requirements to qualify requires that a new engine from a respected manufacturer such as Cummins be installed.

Photos courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins

For further information:


Bui Trong Dien

Engineer, Technical Sales

Cummins DKSH (Vietnam) L.L.C.

1st Floor,, 2 Building, 364 Cong Hoa Street,

Ward 13, Tan Binh District, HCM City, Vietnam

Phone: +84 8 3813 4124, Ext 730

Mobile +84 982 000 831



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