The Marine Nationale (French Navy) FS Seine (A604) entered Valletta Harbour yesterday morning on its first visit to Malta. Seine is the third vessel of the Loire Class and is a BSAM – Bâtiments de Soutien et d’Assistance Métropolitains meaning offshore support and assistance vessels with a total of four in its class.
The BSAM vessels are capable of executing multiple missions including search and rescue (SAR), monitoring and surveillance of maritime zones, logistics support, law enforcement, pollution response, underwater research, control of marine pollution, and patrol in French exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters. In addition, they can be used to render assistance to ships in distress at sea.
They were designed to accommodate divers, to carry weapons and ammunition, to support submarines and surface ships, to tow underwater antennas, as well as to deploy a pollution control dam. They have a towing capacity of 80 tons of traction, a navigation speed of 14 knots and a significant endurance of about 30 days (without refuelling). They are fitted with an 8 meters boat, several RHIBs and a crane for loading and unloading containers.