France pulls vessel from West Coast maritime security mission due to coronavirus


The French Navy has suspended its Mission Corymbe off West Africa due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and withdrawn a vessel from the area.

The patrol vessel Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Henaff, which departed Brest on 3 March for West Africa, returned to France at the end of the month. During its return voyage it stopped in Conakry and Dakar.

France established Mission Corymbe in 1990 to protect French economic interests in the Gulf of Guinea and coast of West Africa, particularly with regard to oil exploration. It has had a naval vessel on station ever since.

Vessels taking part in the mission have also carried out anti-piracy patrols and combated other maritime crimes such as illicit trafficking.

The French Navy has meanwhile sent two of its Mistral class landing helicopter docks to Reunion and Mayotte to provide medical assistance as well as the Antilles/Guyana area. It also has a carrier strike group operating in northern Europe.