French naval vessel Bougainville called into port over the weekend on its routine visit. MELINA ETCHES/23082815
In between the incoming and outgoing of vessels at bustling Avatiu Harbour the French naval vessel Bougainville called into port over the weekend on its “routine visit”, continuing its strengthening of links with the Cook Islands.
Working alongside Cook Islands Police and Maritime Police,
Bougainville offers assistance to the nation in times of natural disasters, and
urgent scenarios such as delivery of water in a drought.
Arriving on Saturday afternoon, the ship hosted a tour
on board and a cocktail gathering in the evening.
The Bougainville departed on Monday afternoon for a
visit to Aitutaki to familiarise with the logistics of the island in
preparation for times of a disaster.
French Honorary Consul Patricia Barton said it was a
pleasure to have the vessel on its routine visit, and to see the ongoing
cooperation between the Cook Islands and France.
The ship has a top speed of 12 to 15 knots and a long
endurance of approximately 30 days of operation without replenishment.
It carries a work boat of about eight metres long and
semi-rigid boats, and has a crane for loading and unloading containers.
It is also capable of
deploying divers and carrying weapons and munitions. According to the French
Procurement Agency (DGA), the vessel has the ability to project 20 personnel
(joint, police or gendarmerie) with two 4x4 vehicles.