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French Navy Polar Logistic Support Vessel L'Astrolabe is Now on Active Service

The French Navy (Marine Nationale) L'Astrolabe, France's new Polar Logistic Support Vessel (Navire Logistique Polaire or PLV) entered "Active Duty" in late June 2018 and is now able to conduct operational missions. The PLV is based on Reunion island and is conducting missions for the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) administration, the French National Antarctic Program (IPEV) and the French Navy.

French Navy Polar Logistic Support Vessel LAstrolabe is Now on Active Service L'Astrolabe PLV, France's new Polar Logistic Support Vessel. Picture: French Navy

In June 2015, French Minister of Overseas announced that a 50 Millions Euros contract was awarded to Piriou shipyard for the construction of one PLV. This contract was awarded through the collaboration between several French ministries: Overseas, research and defense. The PLV was delivered by the shipyard in July 2017.

Over the last few months, the Astrolabe has carried out its first Antarctic Logistics Support Mission (MSLA), a freight and passenger transport mission between Australia and the French scientific base in Terre Adélie. Back in Reunion, the vessel will also perform sovereignty missions in the South Indian Ocean. It is about to patrol in the EEZ of the French Southern Territories (Amsterdam, Crozet, Kerguelen ...).

The PLV is a logistics ship and patrol icebreaker, with an overall length of 72 meter and width of 16 meters that can accommodate up to 60 people on board, carrying 1,200 tons of cargo and accomodate one helicopter.

Classified as ICE BREAKER 5, it is designed to navigate continuously in a layer of 60 to 80 cm thick ice. Its high fuel and food autonomy enables it to carry out missions lasting 35 days at 12 knots.

Its helicopter platform, 35-ton crane and rear gantry provide a real versatility, including for scientific operations.