June 10, 2021 (Google Translation) – During the month of May, crew A of the Beautemps-Beaupré Hydrographic and Oceanographic Building (BHO) and the Atlantic Hydrographic and Oceanographic Group (GHOA) detachment operated under the operational control of the Admiral Commander of the Zone. Indian Ocean Maritime Forces (ZMOI) and Indian Ocean Maritime Forces (ALINDIEN). This mission made it possible to carry out hydrographic surveys in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These surveys had an important purpose in terms of FR-EAU-US trilateral cooperation given the frequent interactions between these three countries in the Gulf.
The objective of the mission was to establish a detailed cartography of certain areas of movement and access channels for the benefit of large amphibious vessels, such as amphibious helicopter carriers (PHA), and their inland waterways. It was also a question of carrying out the reconnaissance of beach and port access sites which will make it possible to conduct joint maneuvers in the area. By promoting the conditions for carrying out future military cooperation exercises, this work is part of the deepening of bilateral relations with the UAE, a strategic partner for France.
It is not trivial for a hydrographic vessel to work near the UAE coasts. Indeed, the underwater geography of the Arab-Persian Gulf (GAP) has an average depth of only fifty meters and many upwelling. The water heights encountered in the work areas, often less than fifteen meters, required intensive use of the two hydrographic boats Cormorant and Pelican in parallel with the surveys carried out by the BHO.
In this context, the BHO and its hydrographic boats discovered two new wrecks in their survey areas. The keel of the boats being constantly close to the bottom, the slightest obstruction represents a potential danger to navigation. This is particularly the case for vessels with a large draft such as a PHA. In addition, shallow water strongly influences the speed of advance of surveys. Indeed, the survey surface covered by the multibeam echo sounder is proportional to the depth. Thus, to continuously cover the areas studied, the building must follow hydrographic rails spaced only about twenty meters apart. This represents a long and meticulous job which requires navigation to the nearest meter. In addition, the high air and sea water temperatures in the GAP, which far exceed 30 ° C, have been a physical challenge for the staff working on the deck and on the boats. Due to these delicate environmental conditions, the equipment was regularly used in the vicinity of its operating limit parameters to carry out the mission.
Having the satisfaction of having carried out the work requested in this strategic area, the staff participating in the BHO mission are now moving towards the continuation of their program in the Indian Ocean.