The French frigate Vendémiaire docked in Bangkok on Sunday morning ready for joint military training exercises with the Royal Thai Navy.
Commander Jerome Henry declared his intention to “contact the Royal Thai Navy to maintain and strengthen our alliance”.
The Vendémiaire will remain berthed at Bangkok Port until Thursday, its first visit to Thailand since 2011, Henry said.
It sailed from its home port of Noumea in New Caledonia on a three-month cruise that has also included a 10-day stopover in South Korea. Its next port of call will be Bali, Indonesia, before returning to Noumea on June 14.
Henry did not say whether the frigate had traversed the South China Sea, scene of territorial disputes involving China and several Southeast Asian nations.
The Vendémiaire, constructed in 1993 in Saint-Nazaire shipyard, was designed for humanitarian service, surveillance missions, specifically anti-smuggling, and the defence of French interests far from the homeland, such as fisheries, the commander said.
Its mission extends to “upholding maritime-domain awareness” and policing, such as anti-pollution and medical and logistics assistance.
The ship’s name refers to the month of the grape harvest on the 18th-century calendar at the time of the French Revolution.
The Vendémiaire is 93.5 metres bow to stern and 36.4 metres in height.
It carries an adaptive weapons system that includes a 100-millimetre anti-surface-craft and anti-aircraft gun and a 20-millimetre rapid-firing cannon. A helicopter is onboard for short-distance surveillance and transportation.
It’s crewed by 102 officers, including 10 women and two medical personnel.