Durban port call for French patrol vessel


French naval vessel Le Champlain arrives in Durban on Monday for a routine port call – the first for one the B2M multi-mission platforms since its deployment to La Reunion in June 2017.

Tasks assigned to her include anti-piracy, maritime surveillance with particular attention to illegal vessels, fishing and illegal fishing policing as well as public service operations.

Le Champlain is the third of four foreign support and assistance vessels operated by the French Navy in the d’Entrecasteaux Class. The vessel is 65 metres in length, 14 metres wide and displaces 2 300 tons. Power is supplied by a pair of one thousand eight hundred horsepower plus diesel engines and three diesel alternators.

It is armed with 12.7mm machineguns and can accommodate and operate a pair of fast boats and a service boat. The vessel accommodates up to six containers on its rear deck, primarily for humanitarian support missions. Maximum time at sea on patrol is 30 days and reports have it the platform can perform 200 operational days in a 12 month cycle.

Standard crew component is three officers and 20 sailors, including two women.

The Durban port call is a four-day break from patrolling French foreign maritime areas and international waters.

The first ship in class, FS d’Entrecasteaux, has been operating from Noumea, New Caledonia, since July 2016. Bougainville and Champlain, the third and fourth units in the class, are based in Tahiti and La Reunion.

The French navy’s patrol vessel Le Malin visited Durban from Reunion Island in February 2018.