During its long-term deployment that took place from March to June 2019, the BSAM Seine conducted cooperation with the Senegalese navy in Africa, integrated a French Navy amphibious group (with the Tonnerre LHD and La Fayette frigate) and even sailed 400 nautical miles up the Amazon River, demonstration its capabilities in brackish water.
In March, the BSAM Rhône participated in pollution control operations following the sinking of the Grande America ship. More recently, the BSAM Loire provided on-site coordination and logistic movements in the research work of the submarine Minerve.
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, is based in Toulon. The fourth and final ship of the class, Garonne, has just been delivered. The vessels are named after major French rivers.
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