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Raro bound French Navy ship open to public tours

Thursday 7 December 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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Raro bound French Navy  ship open to public tours
The French Navy ship Arago. SUPPLIED / 23120602

The French Navy ship Arago is in Rarotonga today offering public tours from 2pm to 5pm daily until Sunday.

Tours last approximately 30 minutes and accommodate a maximum of 10 people per group, with no more than two groups on board simultaneously.

French Honorary Consul to Cook Islands, Patricia Barton, announced the open house, highlighting that while no restrictions apply to visitors, young children and some older individuals may be excluded for safety reasons.

The Arago’s primary mission is conducting Fishery Surveillance Operations within the French Polynesian EEZ and the High Seas, working alongside South Pacific partners.

Barton said the crew is currently participating in a Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) operation and patrolling the Cook Islands’ EEZ.

While here, the Arago crew will collaborate with the Cook Islands Police Service’s Maritime Surveillance Unit to hold some training with police patrol boat Te Kukupa II personnel. The Arago’s capabilities include (Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief) and Atoll Reconnaissance (sending a team able to go through the reef with rigid-hulled inflatable boat).

Police media officer Trevor Pitt emphasised the value of these joint training sessions, especially in honing maritime surveillance procedures like sea boarding.

Pitt noted the positive experiences of previous collaborations, particularly in May and September of last year.

The French Navy Ship Arago, commissioned in 1991, is a patrol vessel stationed in Tahiti, French Polynesia. With a length of 60 metres and a displacement of 950 tons, her name honours French scientist François Arago. The ship houses 36 personnel, including five officers, 18 petty officers, and 13 crew members. Lieutenant Commander Charles Trémenbert, 33 years old, assumed command on January 12, 2023.