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The Royal and the Navy go to the Aegean Sea

The Wildcat shipboard helicopter aka AW159 SuperLynx (credit: MOD uk)
The Wildcat helicopter aka AW159 SuperLynx (credit: MOD uk)

(B2) French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed it just after the Franco-German mini summit at the Elysée on Friday (March 4): a French ship leaves Toulon this week. Direction: the Aegean Sea to complete the NATO deployment there. This is the opinion Commander Bouan (F-797), recently commanded by Lieutenant Commander Lucas Saliou, who was designated for this mission, as specified by the General Staff of the Armed Forces. This high seas patrol boat knows a little about rescue operations at sea. He participated last fall in the operation led by the European agency Frontex in the Ionian Sea, off the coast of Italy, recovering several hundred refugees (read on the journal of the ship). He made a stopover in Malta during the EU-Africa summit on migration and at that time received a visit from the head of state, François Hollande.

The Royal Navy also present

On the British side, it was David Cameron who, before the start of the Brussels summit, announced than the amphibious ship FRG Mounts Bay will leave for the Aegean Sea within the same framework. " This migration is the biggest challenge facing Europe today " did he declare. The tenant of Downing Street is thus continuing its maritime diplomacy. We actually remember that in April, very quickly after the European meeting on the migration alert in the Mediterranean, he quickly decided to send a British frigate (read: Faced with the tragedy in the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom responds "present").

Mission: identify smugglers

The mission assigned by the Prime Minister to his ship is to “ identifier smugglers and pass the information to the Turkish coast guard so that they can intercept these boats ». In its task the RFA Mounts bay will be supported by 3 border guard boats: the YOUR Graces « who is already in the Aegean Sea », with a team of British border guards (Greek and Italian), a medical team as part of Operation Frontex, another patrol boat « which is on the way to the region ". A third should join him “ this month (to take over from the first).

But also rescue at sea?

FRG Mounts Bay (L-3008) is an amphibious ship, equipped with a Wildcat helicopter on board. It was notably deployed during the operation in Sierra Leone in 2006 and participated in the Corsican Lion exercise in 2002 (read: The Royals surround Corsica). It's not really the ideal ship for observing and gathering information discreetly. On the other hand, it can accommodate a lot of people on board: a general staff or refugees. Or even both. It will have two coastal patrol boats on board, allowing them to come to the aid of “shipwrecked” people.



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).

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