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About twenty ships accompanied by the “Royale”

Accompaniment by the frigate Jean De Vienne of merchant ships (French Navy)

(B2)The launch of the EU NAVFOR Somalia military operation “Atalanta” also meant the end of the activities carried out by the EU NAVCO cell. The cell for coordinating European activities for the protection of sensitive ships in the Gulf of Aden. On this occasion, the French navy took stock of these activities.

In European coordination, France provided support for around twenty commercial ships transiting the Gulf of Aden – most of them flying flags other than the French flag. This support is set by the French command in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN) and provided by different vessels.

Aviso Commandant Birot thus carried out a first support mission from September 15 to 18 with a French tanker, the Algavre. But other ships deployed in the Indian Ocean (most based in Djibouti temporarily) carried out the other missions:
– from October 12 to 14: the German-armed merchant ship, the Yangtze River on the West-East transit
– from October 15 to 17: the ship flying the Maltese flag, the MV Intrepid
– October 28 and 29: the ships Seahorse (Dutch flag, Belgian shipowner) and Neptune (Norwegian flag, Dutch shipowner), on the West-East transit
– October 30 and 31: the ship New Century (Marshall Islands flag, chartered by Total)
– November 21 and 22: the tanker Hellespont Credo (German flag) and the bulk carrier Pacific Chief (Antigua & Barbuda flag, German shipowner)
– on November 22 and 23, theEclipse (Nantes shipping company, chartered MINDEF)
– November 25 and 26: the ship Alizé (shipowner Louis Dreyfus), and the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit (shipowner: Seabourn Cruise Line, Bahamas flag, 200 passengers including 6 French on board)
– November 27 and 28: the bulk carrier Miss (Norwegian flag)
– December 5 and 6: Ponant (*), the Kronos (Greek shipowner) and the pelagia (Dutch shipowner).

The Jean de Vienne, Nivôse and Ponant frigates moored side by side in Djibouti (National Navy)


(*) The Ponant is a long-standing client of the French Navy in the Indian Ocean. We remember that it was this boat (French flag of Kerguelen) which was attacked at the beginning of April by pirates, and prompted a rapid and decisive intervention by marine commandos, after delivery of a ransom and release of the hostages and the boat, ashore to recover part of the ransom and arrest six pirates, transferred to… Paris, to be charged. The story of this intervention illustrated in comics (here)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).