Before leaving soon for a mission to the subantarctic islands, the polar patrol boat L’Astrolabe returned to its home port at the naval base of Port-des-Galets on the island of Reunion.

Rarely present on Reunion Island due to its large number of days spent at sea, the polar patrol boat stopped for a few days at the naval base of Port-des-Galets to prepare its next mission.


Built in 2017 as part of a public partnership between the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF), the Paul-Emile-Victor Polar Institute (IPEV) and the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Astrolabe is permanently armed and maintained by the French Navy. It performs two types of missions: general sovereignty missions and logistics support missions in Antarctica.

The logistics support mission in Antarctica lasts about five months. During the austral summer, L’Astrolabe transports cargo and passengers for the benefit of French scientific bases in Antarctica and Australia. The Astrolabe is the only icebreaker of the French Navy and the only French icebreaker with a logistics vocation. The rest of the year, the building conducts missions of sovereignty, fisheries police, fight against illegal trafficking or protection of the environment in the southern Indian Ocean.

Built to civil standards, the Astrolabe can carry 42 passengers, 500 cubic meters of fuel and 200 tons of cargo.

The Armed Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean Area (FAZSOI) carry out a wide range of missions in a permanent area of responsibility with significant elongations. From Mayotte and Reunion, more than 1,700 soldiers guarantee the protection of the population, protect exclusive economic zones, fight piracy and illicit trafficking. FAZSOI frequently supports State action missions at sea and implements the France’s military partnerships with countries in southern Africa and the southern Indian Ocean.