French cross-deck for HMAS Darwin

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Jason O'Gormann (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer), ABBM Isaac Ingui (photographer)

HMAS Darwin conducts a cross-deck opportunity with French frigate FNS Nivose in waters off the African coast.  (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
HMAS Darwin conducts a cross-deck opportunity with French frigate FNS Nivose in waters off the African coast.

HMAS Darwin conducted a unique international engagement opportunity with French Navy Ship Nivôse, a Florèal class frigate, during their third patrol as part of Operation MANITOU. 

The commanding officers of each ship conducted a personnel exchange to discuss strategies for working together in the region when Nivôse was patrolling near Darwin off the coast of Africa.

Six personnel from Darwin including Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tina Brown, and Boarding Officer, Lieutenant James Hodgkinson,boarded Nivôse, while Darwin played host to Nivôse Commanding Officer, Commander Julien Lalanne de Saint-Quentin, Operations Officer, Lieutenant Antoine de Rodelle and four other French personnel.

“I had a great time onboard the Nivôse, the crew were friendly, knowledgeable and the hospitality was outstanding,” Lieutenant Commander Brown said.

"They certainly eat well in the French Navy, the food was restaurant quality!"

Following transfer via Darwin’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, the visiting crews were treated to lunch and a tour of the respective ships, before participating in operational briefs.

Transferring personnel back to their original ships was conducted using the Nivôse Panther helicopter.

"There is a lot of sea to patrol in this area, so this meeting represented the perfect opportunity for the Darwin and Nivôse command teams to get together and co-ordinate efforts,” said Commanding Officer Darwin, Commander Phillip Henry.

"Interacting with our allies in this manner also strengthens ties between our two navies and provides some quality memories too."

Operation MANITOU is Australia’s maritime security contribution to the Middle East region. 

This is Darwin’s seventh deployment to the region and the 62nd for a Royal Australian Navy unit since 1990.