“DUMONT D’URVILLE” – A Batral visits the island

The Dumont d’Urville is on its second visit to Saint Lucia, having previously carried out training operations in 2011 at the Soufrière Bay

The Dumont d’Urville is on its second visit to Saint Lucia, having previously carried out training operations in 2011 at the Soufrière Bay

The Navy Ship “DUMONT D’URVILLE” will make a call to Port Castries for the Remembrance Day ceremonies, on Saturday, 9thNovember. The Commander of the vessel is Lieutenant Commander Cyril REY, in the presence of the French Ambassador, His Excellency Eric de LA MOUSSAYE and Non-Resident Defense Attaché, Colonel Hervé de SOLAGES.

Cultural events will be organized on the wharf by the Alliance Française on the evening of 9th November 2013 and the ship “Dumont d’Urville” will remain berthed at Pointe Séraphine until November 12 2013, where it will engage in cooperation exercises with the St Lucia Marine Unit and local authorities.

As a “batral” (meaning light transport ship), the Dumont d’Urville is quite a surprising vessel. She was designed for the transport of a company of motorized infantry and thanks to her flat bottom, she can land on a beach in order to easily disembark passengers and vehicles. Thus, more than 400 tons of equipment can be transferred on and off the vessel from either quay or beach.

Above all, batrals are amphibious vessels, designed for the transport of a Guepard  company, comprised of 138 men and 20 vehicles. They often take part in missions which involve the army,
the police or even foreign armies. Finally, a platform also enables them to welcome a helicopter.

The Dumont d’Urville is the third of the five French batrals. Her construction began in 1980 in the shipyard of Grand Quevilly in Normandy and she joined the French fleet on February 5, 1983. First posted to Tahiti on June 13, 1983. Since then she has accomplished missions throughout the five archipelagos of French Polynesia, from the Southern Islands to the Marquises and she ventured to Fort de France, Martinique in the Caribbean for new missions in December 2010.

Thanks to her operational abilities, the Dumont d’Urville accomplishes all the missions which are confided to her: operational transport, safety and surveillance of the French territory, enforcement of the state policy at sea (fishing police, struggle against drug trafficking, safeguarding human life, humanitarian support after natural disasters).

Nicknamed the “Pacific truck” by the Polynesians, with reference to the remarkable Tahitian public transport, when her homeport was Papeete, she brings now the heritage of two well known predecessors, the « Champlain » and the Francis Garnier, that were nicknamed the « Saint Bernard of the West Indies ».

After having joined the Marine in 1811, Jules Dumont D’Urville distinguished himself as soon as 1819 by bringing back the Venus of Milo during a call in the Cyclades. Then, from 1822 to 1829, he travelled up and down the Pacific on board of the Astrolabe. He notably found the remains of Laperouse’s expedition at Vanikoro. However, he made his main project happen in 1837. With the Astrolabe and the Zélée, he led several exploration campaigns in the South Seas. In spite of scurvy, a vessel trapped by the ices, he discovered the Antarctic in 1840 that he named after his wife’s name, Terre Adelie.

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