Shipbuilding, repair and naval engineering company Piriou is set to formally deliver the French Navy's new patrol and polar logistic ice-breaker L’Astrolabe in early September this year.
The new vessel is intended to replace the logistic ship L’Astrolabe and patrol vessel Albatros upon entering service.
Piriou Group president Pascal Piriou said: “With a partnership with specialists of the sector, we are now delivering a hybrid vessel, a crossbreeding between an ice-breaker and an ocean-going patrol vessel, versatile and custom made, to answer various supply and sovereignty missions; a challenge we were able to meet in a very short period of 24 months.”
The existing logistic ship L’Astrolabe is chartered by the Austral and Antarctic French Territories (TAAF) and the French Polar Institute Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV), and was used to carry supplies to the French Antarctic base in the Adelie Land.
Albatros carried out several sovereignty and patrol missions in the Southern oceans during its operational period between 1967 and 2015, and was owned and operated by the French Navy.
The initial order for the new 72m-long L’Astrolabe ship was placed in June 2015.
Pirou will also provide the vessel takeover, vessel operation and maintenance training for the two French Navy crews, which are scheduled to operate the vehicle on a rotational basis.
Additionally, the company will offer in-service support over the next three years in the vessel's homeport, the French island of La Reunion, as well as carry out the delivery transit between Brest and La Reunion.
L’Astrolabe has the capacity to accommodate up to 60 persons and carry a maximum cargo of 1,400t.
The French Navy entered into a partnership with TAAF and IPEV for the construction of the new ice-breaker in 2014.
Image: The French Navy’s patrol and polar logistic ice-breaker, L’Astrolabe. Photo: courtesy of PIRIOU.