July 7, 2020 (Google Translation) – On June 28, the amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Tonnerre trained with the Gabonese administrations in charge of maritime surveillance in the Libreville estuary. At the heart of the training, a fast boat interception exercise and a winch by Caiman.
While sailing in the Gulf of Guinea on a Corymbe mission, the PHA Tonnerre crew conducted a series of exchanges strengthening ties with Gabonese maritime security players. As of June 26, Vice-Admiral Nambo, Chief of the Gabonese Navy, met with Captain Tranchant, commanding the PHA Tonnerre . Other interviews were also held remotely with Mr. Philippe Autié, Ambassador of France to Gabon, then with the General Staff of the French Elements in Gabon (EFG).
On June 28, PHA Tonnerre arrives in the Libreville estuary in Gabon. It is 5:40 am when the navigation teams in restricted waters are called back to their posts. At 08h00, Tonnerre begins its joint operations with the Gabonese Navy and with the French elements in Gabon (EFG).
The morning is dedicated to interactions with several Gabonese administrations: the Gabonese Navy, the maritime gendarmerie, the police, customs and coastal protection. A Thunder boat plays the role of fleeing pirates, allowing the coordination of these different organizations and training in interception protocols for the benefit of the Gabonese teams. A little later, it is the towing of a diver from the Caïman du Tonnerre helicopter on the aft deck of the Gabonese patrol boat LV Mangoye which is very appreciated by the Gabonese Navy.
The two Standard Amphibious Landing Engines (EDAS) and the amphibious flotilla also carried out an amphibious reconnaissance on the beach of the “Pompidou mess”, in the presence of soldiers from the 6th BIMa of the EFG.
Successful assessment for this new cooperation, without physical contact with the earth, for which the Thunder was expected!
Since 1990, France has deployed one or two vessels on a Corymbe mission almost permanently in the Gulf of Guinea. The mission has two major objectives: to be able to provide possible protection for the French in the area in the event of a crisis and to contribute to the reduction of maritime insecurity, in particular by helping to strengthen the capacities of the navies bordering the Gulf, and centers of the structure resulting from the Yaoundé process. The deployment of French buildings on a Corymbe mission completes the French system stationed in West Africa (Gabon, Ivory Coast, Senegal) and participates in the maritime aspect of operational cooperation implemented regionally by these presence forces.