French Warship Seine, Guardian of Ocean
Warship Seine, a design for environmental and military purposes
The Seine is one of the 4 BSAM, Metropolitan Offshore Support and Assistance Vessels (BSAM : Batiment de soutien et d’assistance métropolitains) along with the Rhone, the Loire and the Garonne. Each one named after a French river. The Seine is 70 meter long and can reach a speed of 14 knots but is manned with only 17 crew members and officers.
She is designed to perform several types of missions. The Seine is able to support the French Naval Forces (escorting Nuclear Attack submarines, towing, recovery of tactical weapons such as exercise torpedoes,…), carrying out police missions (fisheries policy, projection and intervention of special forces,…) or different types of support missions (anchoring and maintenance work, recovery of mooring buoy or shipwrecks, towing of equipment,…).
But as Lieutenant Guillaume told us, « the missions of the Seine are not only military. The Seine contributes to public service missions, under the responsibility of the french Prefect of the Mediterranean Sea, based in Toulon.»
And this apparently happens very often, the officer explains: « This summer, after the heavy storm on french Corsica on the 18th of August, we were ordered to join immediately the Corsican coast, to assist a sinking sailing ship. We managed to secure the ship and towed it to the Ile Rousse Harbour. All along the Corsican coastline, there was a huge amount of shipwrecks and debris, so that we spent a couple of days investigating the Corsican approaches and cleaning up the remaining debris that could have been a danger for navigation ».
War against pollution
French Navy is committed to protecting the seas. The POLMAR ” maritime pollution ” operation is one of its various missions and the most important. The Seine is able to deploy a giant floating pollution barrier to contain and collect marine pollution, particularly caused by hydrocarbons.
The ship is also equipped with facilities to pump the hydrocarbons and store it on board. ” We train very often the deployment of all our anti-pollution assets, to be ready to intervene immediately in real case ” added Lieutenant Guillaume. With the permanently increasing human activity at sea, ” pollution in the Mediterranean Sea is one of the biggest challenge we have to face. Not only the French Navy, but all the different administrations of neighboring countries. “
Collaboration to preserve marine environment
In order to develop international cooperation, France signed the Ramoge agreement in 1976. The Ramoge Agreement is an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between France, Italy and Monaco for the preservation of the marine environment.
It is an instrument of multidisciplinary coordination involving territorial administrations, scientific institutions, and users of the sea in order to carry out joint actions in their fields of competence. In addition, France is committed to developing knowledge and specific skills around the Mediterranean sea.
In February 2022, the Seine participated in a joint maritime pollution exercise with the Albanian Navy. ” The main objective of this exercise, based on a scenario developed by the Albanian authorities, was to coordinate the action of the many means involved, and to use common procedures to detect, contain and eradicate maritime pollution ” said Lieutenant Guillaume.
From the 27 to 28 March 2023, the warship Seine took part in the “CedreBleu” operation alongside the Lebanese Navy. The role of the BSAM was to strengthen cooperation and share their expertise in fight against marine pollution. Thus they demonstrated the use of a harbor boom for marine pollution response and seaweed collection.
Besides the development of multinational partnership in a common effort to fight maritime pollution, France is also promoting her specific national organization and her technical solutions.