By Francis Wakefield
The French Navy Ship (FNS) Vendemiaire (F734), with one helicopter onboard arrived today at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila for a five-day goodwill visit to the Philippines from March 12 to 16, 2018.
Capt. Lued Lincuna, the director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said the welcome ceremony took place at about 8 a.m.
He said the customary practice that the Philippine Navy (PN) renders to all visiting navies began with a designated PN vessel meeting FNS Vendemiaire at in the vicinity of Corregidor Island and subsequently escorted it to the berthing area.
Lincuna said PN delegates headed by the representative of the Navy chief, Capt. Richard N. Gonzaga, then accorded the visiting navy a welcome ceremony followed by a port briefing
related to security, intelligence and aboard the French vessel.
In line with this, the Joint Commander of the Armed Forces in French Polynesia, Rear Admiral Denis Bertrand, together with Cdr. Alexander Blonce and French nonresident defense attache to the Philippines, Col. Jean-Francois Schoonmann, is scheduled to have a courtesy call on Navy chief , Rear Admiral Robert A. Empedrad at the Navy headquarters on Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
“This goodwill visit will also involve series of confidence-building engagements between the Philippine Navy and French Navy personnel such as shipboard tour, recriprocal receptions and friendly games,” Lincuna said.
“Such visit is also expected to further strengthen the France-Philippines relations which also benefits both armed forces,” he added.
Lincuna said the fitting reception bestowed by the Philippine Navy is a manifestation of a sustained promotion of peace and stability and enhancement of maritime cooperation through naval diplomacy and camaraderie.
Lincuna said the Vendemiaire is under the command of Commander Blonce.
The vessel is a Floreal-class light surveillance frigate of the French Marine Nationale (French Navy).