Cam Ranh Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Cam Ranh) is a deep-water bay in Vietnam in the province of Khánh Hòa. It is located at an inlet of the South China Sea situated on the southeastern coast of Vietnam, between Phan Rang and Nha Trang, approximately 290 kilometers (180 miles) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
Cam Ranh is considered the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia. The continental shelf of Southeast Asia is relatively narrow at Cam Ranh Bay, bringing deep water close to land. Since 2011-2014, Vietnamese authorities have hired Russian consultants and purchased Russian technologies to re-open Cam Ranh Bay (a former Soviet and later United States military base) as the site of a new naval maintenance and logistics facility for foreign warships.
Historically, the bay has been significant from a military standpoint. The French used it as a naval base for their forces in Indochina. It was also used as a staging area for the 40-ship Imperial Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky prior to the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, and by the Japanese Imperial Navy in preparation for the invasion of Malaysia in 1942. In 1944 U.S. Naval Task Force 38 destroyed most Japanese facilities and it was abandoned.
Naval Use of Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay became the center of coastal air patrol operations with the establishment in April 1967 of the U.S. Naval Air Facility, Cam Ranh Bay, and the basing there of P-2 Neptune and P-3 Orion patrol aircraft. That summer, Commander Coastal Surveillance Force and his staff moved their headquarters from Saigon to Cam Ranh Bay and set up operational command post to control the Operation Market Time effort. Country wide coordination also was enhanced with establishment of the Naval Communications Station.
After the Russian withdrawal, the United States negotiated with Vietnam to open Cam Ranh Bay to calls by foreign warships, as it previously had done with the ports of Haiphong in northern Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. In a move that security commentators say is aimed at countering China's build-up of naval power in the East Sea, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced on October 31, 2010 that the bay would reopen to foreign navies after a three-year project to upgrade the port's facilities. Vietnam has hired Russian consultants to direct the construction of new ship-repair facilities, which are scheduled to be available to foreign warships.