French Navy personnel on board the Vendemiaire

James Kon

French Navy Frigate Vendemiaire arrived in Brunei Darussalam for a three-day stopover for re-supply yesterday.

Ambassador of France to Brunei Darussalam Christian Ramage welcomed the Vendemiaire at Muara Port.

The ship carrying 99 French naval crew are not disembarking and no one is allowed to board the ship due to stringent COVID-19 measures.

The frigate has been designed to carry out surveillance mission as well as humanitarian action to enforce French interest far away from France.

Built with efficient engines, an adaptable weapons system and able to deploy a helicopter, the Vendemiaire was designed for remote operation with limited threat in bad weather conditions as well as for humanitarian intervention to support or evacuate population in distress. The ship has anti-surface and anti-air gun, two rapid guns, two chaff launchers and a helicopter. Ramage was in the French Navy between the ages of 18-23.

He said, “Every time I see a French navy ship, it brings back fond memories of when I was young.

“We are very happy that French Navy Frigate Vendemiaire is able to stop in Brunei Darussalam as it is not easy for the ship to stop anywhere in the region.

“The defence relationship between Brunei and France is very good. We have ships coming here every two years. There is a strong French naval presence in the Indo-Pacific and our government is committed in regard of freedom of navigation in respect to the international laws of the sea. We have ships in South China Sea every year.”

The ship travelling from New Caledonia will leave Brunei tomorrow for Australia.

Ambassador of France to Brunei Darussalam Christian Ramage with French Navy Frigate Vendemiaire in the background. PHOTO: JAMES KON