#ExtendedVisit – Almost 400 visiting crew members from a pair of French Navy vessels that docked in Dublin Port as reported yesterday, will remain berthed in the capital on extended shore leave up to next Thursday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The naval vessels are a destroyer and an auxiliary replenishment tanker and will not be open to public unlike the NATO flotilla that called to the capital earlier this month.
Normally such visits are confined over a weekend, but on this occasion the call to the capital involves an extended leave during the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising that begins tomorrow.
The F70 AA or ‘Cassard’ Class leadship Cassard (D 614) one of two sisters, are guided-missile destroyers despite the French Navy that designate them as frigates. The 5,000 deadweight replacement tonnes destroyer has a crew of 230 and was joined yesterday lunchtime by ‘Durance’ class replenishment tanker Var (A 608) with a crew of 150.
The destroyer docked within Alexandra Basin located in the centre of the port while downriver at Ocean Pier is where the 18,000 tonnes displacement at full load tanker berthed.
Cassard was launched in 1985 and three years later was commissioned into service. The 139m long frigate has a top speed of 30 knots. Main armament consists of Mistral and Exocet missiles. A hanger is where Panther type helicopters provide additional capabilities for the Cassard class.
Replenishment auxiliary tanker Var was launched in Brest in 1981 and two years later entered service. The 157m long tanker can achieve a more modest 19 knots and has a range of defence equipment among them a pair of 20 mm Oerlikon guns.
Likewise of the destroyer, Var can handle a Panther helicopter along with a variety of other such aircraft, among the examples are the Dauphin, Cougar, Gazelle and Puma.