According to the DGA, this new vessel reinforces and modernizes the capabilities of the French Navy (Marine Nationale). The BSAM is an extremely versatile ship designed to carry out three types of missions:
- the support of the forces (towing of large displacement vessels, escort and support of submarines, training of the forces, …)
- the maritime safeguard ( rescue at sea, assistance to ships in distress, fight against maritime pollution, etc.)
- regional support (towing, anchoring and maintenance of mooring boxes, lifting of wrecks …)
The French Navy changed the designation of several vessels in its fleet earlier this year. Previously known as BSAH (for Bâtiments de Soutien et d’Assistance Hauturiers or Offshore Support & Assistance Vessel) the Loire-class is now designated as BASM (for Bâtiments de Soutien et d’Assistance Métropolitains or Metropolitan Offshore Support & Assistance Vessel).
The first BSAM, the Loire, operates from Toulon; the second ship of the class, the Rhone, operates from Brest. The third unit, the Seine, which will enter active service in July is based in Toulon.
Loire-class vessels can conduct a wide range of support missions: They were designed to accommodate divers, to carry weapons and ammunition, to support submarines and surface ships, to tow underwater antennas, as well as to deploy a pollution control dam. They have a towing capacity of 80 tons of traction, a navigation speed of 14 knots and a significant endurance of about 30 days (without refueling). They are fitted with an 8 meters boat, several RHIBs and a crane for loading and unloading containers.
BASM main caracteritics
Length overall: 70.30 m
Breadth: 15.80 m
Draft: 5.00 m
Displacement: 2,960 tonnes
Dead-weight: approx. 1000 T
Loading area on deck: 250 m²
Speed: 14 knots
Hull / superstructure: Steel
Amenities: 17 (crew) + 12 passengers
Engine: 2 x 2 650 kilowatts
Generators: 2 x 300 kWe