October 12, 2020 (Google Translation) – On September 21, the building of support and assistance in overseas (BSAOM) Entrecasteaux of the Armed Forces of New Caledonia (FANC), set sail to conduct a mission of nearly three weeks in the economic zone exclusive (ZEE) of New Caledonia. The main objective of this patrol is to ensure the protection of French maritime approaches and protected areas, in particular against illegal fishing activities. Indeed, the halieutic wealth of the Coral Sea is the object of greed aroused by the scarcity or even the exhaustion of these same resources elsewhere.
In parallel with the mission, the crew continued their training: firefighting exercises, naval air cooperation (air drop of equipment by a Guardian from the French Navy, winching and refueling exercises with a Puma from the French Army. ‘Air and Space), training for disembarking cargo in Xénépéhé Bay on Lifou.
After training to conduct an operation with the Xénépéhé gendarmerie brigade, which aimed to repeat the final phase of providing humanitarian aid to an isolated population, the BSAOM made a stopover in Lifou. Thus, after having “made custom” with the chiefs of the tribes of Xépénéhé and Easo to warn them of planned activities, the commander of D’Entrecasteaux gave the order at 2:00 p.m. to proceed with the reconnaissance of the disembarkation point as well as the preparatory maneuvers for unloading the material.
The crew thus had the opportunity to share a dinner with a family of Xénépéhé and to participate in a customary ceremony.
The next day, the crew was invited to Xépénéhé’s land to share a dinner preceded by a new customary welcoming ceremony, in the privacy of a family, and traditional Lifou dances. The simple and extremely warm welcome extended to the crew that evening will remain engraved in the hearts of the sailors of d’Entrecasteaux , and without a doubt of their hosts, as a strong moment of sharing and communion around common values.