April 20, 2020 (Google Translation) – After 14 days at sea, the amphibious helicopter carrier Dixmuide , which left Toulon on April 3, reached Caribbean waters on April 17. As part of Operation Resilience, it is strengthening the resources of the Armed Forces in the Antilles (FAA) to help populations and civil authorities in the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the Antilles-Guyana area. Loaded with nearly 138 tonnes of equipment and means of transport – 170,000 FFP2 masks, 1 million surgical masks and hundreds of liters of hydro-alcoholic gel, as well as 4 helicopters – Diksmuide also has specialists on board, health personnel and disinfection experts.
Thanks to Dixmude , medical evacuations of patients with covid-19 are now possible. Indeed, the 4 helicopters on the Dixmude helicopter carrier reinforce the fleet of aircraft deployed in the Antilles and Guyana (i.e. 3 aircraft and 11 helicopters for the armed forces, 1 aircraft and 1 helicopter for customs, 2 helicopters for civil security and 2 gendarmerie helicopters). The provision of all of these aeronautical means will offer flexibility and responsiveness for any inter-island connection, including medical, especially between the northern islands and Guadeloupe.
The ship initially carried out a logistics tour in the islands of the French Antilles (Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique).
– On April 17 in Saint-Martin for the unloading of a medical evacuation post which would be set up by the armies in the event of worsening of the sanitary situation;
– April 18 at Pointe à Pitre for the unloading of 3 containers of masks to the Regional Health Agency and 1 for the gendarmerie of Guadeloupe, for the transshipment of 6 containers out of 7 from Diksmuide to Guyana by the Navy building Dumont d’Urville . The 7th unloaded in Martinique was transported by military air between April 19 and 20;
– On April 19 at Fort de France for the unloading of 19 containers bound for Fort-de-France with delivery to certain sites + 1 container towards the airport for urgent freight bound for Guyana.
After this logistical phase, the helicopter carrier will be redeployed with all the means of the Armed Forces in the Antilles, which will thus be able to intervene quickly on all of the islands if the health situation deteriorates.
Rigorous measures to protect sailors were taken throughout the crossing in order to protect them and the population of the islands in which the vessel will call, from the risks of contamination of the Covid-19. Also, these measures will last once docked. Social distancing will continue throughout the mission, sailors will avoid contact with land and no one will be allowed to board. The military and civilian personnel of the Armed Forces in the Antilles have applied the same preventive measures since the beginning of the epidemic.