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French Navy sends BSAM Garonne to protect a Norwegian Oil Field.

| 2022

According to a tweet published by the Norwegian MoD on October 26, 2022, the French Navy sent its Loire class BSAM Garonne to protect the Norwegian Oseberg Oil Field in the North Sea. Have we already entered the era of seabed warfare?
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Loire class BSAM Garonne at the Oseberg Oil Field in the North Sea, Norway. (Picture source: Norwegian MoD)

Seabed warfare is defined as “operations to, from, and across the ocean floor.” In general, the target of seabed warfare is infrastructure in place on the seabed such as power cables, telecom cables, or natural resource extraction systems.

On 26 September 2022, a series of explosions and subsequent underwater gas leaks occurred on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines.

The leaks happened as the Baltic Pipe was being opened for natural gas to come in from the North Sea through Denmark to Poland and are believed to have been caused by intentional sabotage; however, the perpetrators' identities and the motives behind such intentional sabotage remain debated.

About Loire class vessels

Loire-class vessels are designed to perform can a wide range of support missions. It can be used to carry weapons and ammunition, support submarines and surface ships, tow underwater antennas, as well as to deploy a pollution control dam.

The BSAM has 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.

The BSAM has a crew of 17 sailors in addition to an option for 12 people and it has an endurance of about 30 days (without refueling).

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