After a Papeete outfit on September 4, 2017, crew B of the Bougainville multi-mission building (B2M) completed the first part of its mission “Passion 2017”, which consisted of exercising French sovereignty over Clipperton, isolated and uninhabited island of the North Pacific. Possession of France since its definitive attribution in 1931, Clipperton is placed under the responsibility of the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia.
The Bougainville was initially carried out the pyrotechnic depollution of a stock of ammunition abandoned by the Americans on the atoll of Clipperton after the second world war. This work was in line with the first operations carried out by B2M D’Entrecasteaux in June 2016 and B2M Bougainville in November 2016, in transit to its port base in Papeete .
With a particularly favorable weather slot, the crew built whale-watching norias to set up an on-site encampment, thus optimizing the working time of the Armed Forces NEDEX (explosives neutralization) team in French Polynesia ( FAPF) embarked for the occasion.
In order to preserve the environment, each destruction has been accompanied by careful preparation, especially with regard to the safeguarding of birds and nests, carefully put away by the team. After 6 days of intensive work, nearly 20,000 munitions were neutralized and destroyed without incident.
The sea currents carry innumerable objects on the atoll. The crew has organized several beach cleaning projects to make them clean.
The second theme of this mission of affirming the French presence in Clipperton was purely maritime. Supported by the Common Maritime Center of French Polynesia (CMC-PF), the Bougainville patrolled for ten days in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Clipperton. This covers an area of 500,000 km 2 , the equivalent of the surface of metropolitan France. These monitoring operations confirmed that the situation established by the CMC-PF from electronic data (AIS and VMS) was in line with reality. Thanks to its ultramarine EEZs, France has the second largest maritime space, more than half of which is in the Pacific Ocean.
After the renovation of the stele erected on the island, a delegation of the crew proceeded to a very symbolic ceremony of colors.