During our time in Pointe-Noire there have been a number of Naval visitors to the port. The first of these was the ex-USCG High Endurance Hamilton Class Cutter, NNS Thunder. She was fresh from her visit to Sydney for the Australian Navy International Fleet Review. Thunder was laid down in 1968 so is 46 years old. I don't envy the job of the engineers onboard trying to keep her operational.
|Nigerian Naval Ship Thunder (exUSCG-Chase)|
The next visitor was the French Mistral Class Amphibious Assault ship, FNS Dixmude which by contrast was brand new and on her first deployment. Jack and I were lucky enough to get a chance to visit Dixmude for a tour. Very impressive.
|French Naval Ship Dixmude|
|Jack in front of FNS Dixmude|
|Jack in the hangar deck of Dixmude|
|Jack and Mick on the flightdeck of FNS Dixmude|
In February an Italian Navy Carrier Group comprising the Aircraft Carrier INS Cavour, the Guided Missile Frigate INS Bergamini and the Replenishment Ship INS Etna visited Pointe-Noire. I was priveleged enough to be able to take a tour of Cavour and then Jack went on a tour with his science teacher, Kat Foley. Cavour is only five years old and is a beautiful ship; very crisp and modern. This Task Group were circumnavigating Africa conducting maritime training, promoting Italian military equipment and carrying out free surgeries utilising the hospital facilities onboard Cavour and Etna.
|Italian Naval Ship Cavour|
|Jack and Kat touring Cavour|
|Jack on the flight deck of Cavour|
|Jack on Cavour|
|Mick on Cavour|
|Italian Naval Ships Bergamini and Etna|
|Etna departing Pointe-Noire|
|Bergamini departing Pointe-Noire|
|Cavour and Congolese Patrol Boat 4 Juin 1990|
|Cavour departing Pointe-Noire|
There was then a bit of a break before a Turkish Maritime Task Group arrived the day before ANZAC Day which was pretty ironic for us. The group consisted of an upgraded ex-USN Perry Class Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) TCG Gediz , a MEKO 200 Class Guided Missile Frigate TCG Orucreis, an Ada Class ASW Corvette TCG Heybeliada and a Logistics Support Ship TCG YB Kudret Gungor. This group was also on a circumnavigation of Africa calling at 29 ports.
|Turkish Navy Ships Orucreis and YB Kudret Gungor|
|Turkish Navy ASW Corvette (F511) TCG Heybeliada and Guided Missile Frigate (F495) TCG Gediz|
|Turkish Logistics Support ship TCG YB Kudret Gungor|
Our final visitor was the Belgium Navy Logistics and Command Ship, BNS Godetia. Godetia was also on an African deployment focussed on a maritime capacity building. By contrast to some of the other naval visitors Godetia is almost 50 years old having been commissioned in 1966 and thus is one of the oldest active warships in the world.
|Belgian Navy Command and Logistical Ship BNS Godetia|