French frigate docks in Vietnam for helicopter repairs

By Nguyen Tien   March 12, 2021 | 03:16 am PT
French frigate docks in Vietnam for helicopter repairs
The Prairial frigate is anchored at the Cam Ranh Port in Khanh Hoa Province, March 9, 2021. Photo courtesy of the French Embassy in Vietnam.
A French frigate has been anchored in Cam Ranh Port from Tuesday to Friday for a helicopter onboard to be repaired.

Marc Razafindranaly, French defense attache in Vietnam, said the Prairial had left Tahiti of French Polynesia on Jan. 15 and reached Cam Ranh Port in south central Khanh Hoa Province on Tuesday. French engineers had then commenced repairing a Alouette III helicopter on board until Friday.

Before reaching Cam Ranh, the frigate had undergone a 14-day quarantine period at Sasebo City in Japan, Razafindranaly said, adding the crew was glad to be able to go ashore to rest following nearly two months at sea.

The trip to Vietnam was also an opportunity to see if the French navy could operate normally amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the attache remarked.

"I believe the experiment was a success," he said.

The frigate’s visit to Vietnam forms part of a military cooperation framework between Vietnam and France, according to the French Embassy in Hanoi.

"The frigate’s visit at this time is meant to deliver a message in support of freedom of navigation in the air and at sea, which is shared by both Vietnam and France," said Ambassador Nicolas Warnery.

The Prairial is a Floreal-class frigate, spanning 93.5 meters and has a maximum speed of 37 kph.

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