Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago’s Da Nam Island

As Tet approaches, Vietnamese people throughout the country return home for family reunions. Meanwhile, officers and soldiers at islands of Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago have been on duty during this traditional Lunar New Year. The naval forces of the Vietnam People's Navy often carry out annual visits and offer Tet gifts to officers and soldiers on duty.

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It has become a tradition for people across the country to send their gifts to Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, some 300 nautical miles off Khanh Hoa province’s coast, just before Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday. The gifts bring not only the Tet atmosphere from mainland but also encouragement to those who defend their nation’s territories days and nights regardless of hardship.

Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
The vessel KN490 approached Song Tu Tay Island, but the boat taking the group could not reach the island because the waves were too strong. Source: Lao Cai newspaper

Navy Region 4 ships carrying officers, soldiers, journalists as well as New Year gifts departed from Cam Ranh military port in the central province of Khanh Hoa on December 21 for Truong Sa.

After more than two days (from December 21 to December 23), overcoming big waves, high winds, and a journey of more than 200 nautical miles, the vessel KN490 carried a delegation approached the archipelago.

According to the itinerary, the first stop will be Song Tu Tay (Southwest Cay) Island. However, when the ship approached the island, suddenly a storm arose with continuous wind level 5 – 6, the sea was rough with waves from 3 to 4 m high. It was impossible to carry out the plan to transfer goods and people to the island. The ship had to drop anchor to to wait instead of coming in in the storm.

Following the direction of the Commander of Naval Region 4, the vessel KN490 urgently moved to the area of Da Nam Island to transfer the goods, technical means and delegations there.

The ship sailed from Song Tu Tay Island to Da Nam (South Reef) Island. When approaching the island area, it encountered strong winds and waves from 2 to 3 m high, again making it difficult to drop passengers and supplies off.

Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
The ship brought early traditional Tet atmosphere to soldiers and islanders with hundreds of tonnes of Tet gifts and supplies from all parts of the country to the archipelagos.

After meeting to agree on the plan, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Pham Van Tho, Deputy Political Commissar of Brigade 146, Naval Region 4, directed the forces on board to find a plan. Accordingly, in the delegation of reporters, officers and soldiers, only those who have enough health and seafaring experience can get on the boat for transportation to the island.

At exactly 13:30 on December 23, two large boats on the vessel KN490 were lowered into the sea to bring goods and the delegates to Da Nam Island. The journey to bring Tet goods and the delegation including the Commander of of Brigade 146, Naval Region 4 and six journalists to Da Nam Island.

After nearly two hours of struggling with thunderstorms and waves, the two boats finally reached Da Nam Island wharf, delivering boxes of Tet gifts, peach blossoms, mai (ochna) flower, kumquat tree, live pigs and chickens, among others, coupling with sentiments of people on the mainland.

Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Harsh sea weather with strong winds and storms challenge the delegates.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Delegates were picked up by boats to visit Da Nam island.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Officials, soldiers stationed at Da Nam island welcome the Commander of of Brigade 146, Naval Region 4.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Delivering supplies and gifts to people and soldiers stationed there on the occasion of the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet).

Lieutenant Colonel Le Quang Toan, political instructor of Da Nam Island, shared that when receiving information that a delegation of the 146th Brigade, Region 4 Navy and journalists would visit the island, soldiers stationed here were very happy and excitedly prepare to welcome the delegates.

“When the supplies and gifts were brought to the island, we felt the sentiment of the mainland people so that the islanders could enjoy a happy Tet holiday and fulfill our assignments of protect the nation’s sea and island sovereignty,” he recalled.

During the meeting with the delegation, officers and soldiers on Da Nam Island received many Tet gifts from relatives and people in the mainland.

Earlier, on December 20, 100 gifts were presented to personnel and policy beneficiaries at the Navy Region 4 High Command, as part of an annual programme run by the online newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnam People’s Navy High Command.

Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Officers and soldiers of Da Nam Island prepare a “Mam Ngu Qua” (five-fruit tray) to welcome the Lunar New Year.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Peach trees are believed to represent both luck and prosperity moving into the new year.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
The kumquat tree is a popular decoration during Tet.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
Pig and chickens were also transported to the island.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
The gifts bring not only the Tet atmosphere from mainland but also encouragement to those who defend their nation’s territories days and nights regardless of hardship.
Bringing Early Tet Gifts to Truong Sa Archipelago's Da Nam Island
The Command of Brigade 146, Naval Region 4 visited and encouraged cadres and soldiers on the island.
Hannah Nguyen