Siroco amphibious assault ship visits Africa

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The French amphibious assault ship Siroco is visiting Africa’s west coast and has taken part in exercises and training with several countries along the way, including the Congo, Gabon and Angola.

The Siroco set sail for the Atlantic coast of Africa on November 15 last year and is scheduled to sail between Senegal and Angola until April this year.

The French ministry of defence said that the Siroco conducted training with Gabon between November 27 and December 3. An amphibious unit from the Siroco and 240 men and 40 vehicles from the French 6th Marine Infantry Battalion based in Libreville, and a motorised parachute unit from Gabon, took part in the exercise, which involved deploying a landing unit and evacuating civilians.

The Siroco conducted another exercise in Gabon between January 8 and 12, south of Libreville. The exercise again involved the 6th Marine Infantry Battalion. Puma and Fennec helicopters were also involved in the exercise.

The Siroco was scheduled to call in at Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo between January 21 and 25. During its stop at Pointe Noire, the Siroco’s crew was tasked with assisting in the rehabilitation of a primary school and conducting a training exercise with Congolese sailors.

On January 27 the Siroco docked at the port of Luanda on a four-day stay, where its crew met their Angolan counterparts and conducted various training exercises. It’s captain Henri Duparc Fouques met with senior members of the Angolan Armed Forces, discussing military cooperation between Angola and France.

The Siroco’s mission is to ensure security in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, protect French interests in the region and foster cooperation between the French Navy and navies in Central and West Africa. She is capable of landing and supporting a mechanised armoured regiment of the French rapid deployment force. Her three main missions are the landing of infantry and armoured vehicles on unprepared coasts, mobile logistic support for naval forces and humanitarian relief missions.

The Siroco is 168 metres long and accommodates 244 crewmembers. She accommodates eight landing craft, four helicopters and, on short cruises, up to 900 troops.