Military Capabilities

French Navy vessel becomes first NATO-flagged naval ship to sail Russia’s Northern Sea Route

11 October 2018

The French Navy's newly commissioned Loire-class offshore support and assistance vessel (BSAH) Rhône (A 603) has become the first NATO state vessel to navigate Russia's claimed exclusive Arctic Northern Sea Route (NSR).

Rhône departed for the NSR from its port base in Brest, northwestern France, on 23 August, and returned to home base on 2 October.

Its passage along the NSR took Rhône to Tromsø, Norway, on 1 September, then through the Norwegian, Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas, passing the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska on 15 September, reaching the US port of Dutch Harbour on the Aleutian Islands on 17 September, and then returning to Brest on 2 October via the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

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