More Than 170 French Nationals Evacuated from Haiti

On March 24th, the French government announced that it would offer evacuation flights for “vulnerable citizens” in Haiti after new-year gang attacks swelled into a complete degradation of government services and the collapse of the Haitian government itself.

Unclear Which French Ships Are Supporting

Those evacuated by helicopter were reportedly taken to a French Navy vessel, described as a landing helicopter dock. However, authorities have not named the vessel in question. Of the three Mistral-class French Landing Craft, the Tonnerre has been assigned to accompany the frigate Guépratte on a worldwide tour which includes a near-circumnavigation of South America.

However, upon viewing footage of a French Navy vessel off the coast of Haiti, it is clear that what was described as a landing helicopter dock is actually a D’Entrecasteaux-class Offshore Patrol/Support Vessel (Bâtiment multi-mission (B2M)). The French Navy employs four of these vessels, with only one of them being based in Fort-de-France, and the other three being based in the Pacific or Africa. That vessel is named Dumont d’Urville, which is probably shown here:

The B2M are designed for a range of low-intensity, high-endurance missions in the French EEZ, from bases in the Overseas collectivities. As such, they feature a relatively low maximum speed of 12 to 15 knots, but can operate for 30 days without resupply, and are designed for a high availability of 200 days at sea per year. One of their main tasks is maritime law enforcement, particularly in commercial fishing and against illegal immigration, Drug trafficking, and piracy.

However, the B2M do not have a dedicated helipad, it is not clear if the stern area of the ship can accommodate a helicopter landing on it, leading this publication to believe that a Mistral-class French Landing Craft may also be involved in the operation, though far off the coast. The video below shows French troops guarding an embarkation point in the city of Okaya where ferrying operations are underway. 

Once arriving on board, the French Navy has reportedly secured transit for the French nationals to Fort-de-France, Martinique, and then on to their final destinations.

By 0830 EST on March 26th, French nationals were spotted departing Les Cays, Haiti by helicopter.

The Announcement from the French Foreign Ministry

This morning, the French Foreign Ministry announced that more than 170 French nationals and 70 other foreign nationals have been evacuated from Haiti by French helicopters. The official announcement reads below”

“Due to the interruption of commercial air links with Port-au-Prince, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the Ministry of the Armed Forces, organized several special flights to allow the most vulnerable nationals to leave the country.

Teams from the French Embassy in Port-au-Prince, agents from the Crisis and Support Center deployed to Haiti enabled the boarding of French army helicopters of more than 170 French nationals and nearly 70 European nationals and third-country nationals in a vulnerable situation, supported by France. They all joined a national navy vessel which will transport them today to Fort-de-France.

The crisis unit of the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs remains active to answer questions from French nationals present in Haiti. The French embassy in Port-au-Prince continues to operate and remains fully mobilized in support of the French community there.”

 

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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