French pop in for a visit

BFNS Prairial cruises up Otago Harbour yesterday. Photo supplied.
BFNS Prairial cruises up Otago Harbour yesterday. Photo supplied.
The crew of a French ship turned their attention to friendship soon after they arrived in Dunedin yesterday.

Crew members of the French patrol boat FNS Prairial had barely found their land legs when they were lacing up their boots for a friendly game of football with the Dunedin Technical masters team at Tahuna Park.

The French patrol boat and its 94 crew docked at the X/Y Sheds at 9.08am yesterday on a routine visit to Dunedin, after taking part in a secret international military exercise off the Oamaru coast earlier this month with HMNZS Wellington, HMNZS Canterbury, United States Marines, Royal Marines and the New Zealand Army.

The ship is based at Papeete in French Polynesia, where it is used for patrol duties, policing and surveillance of the exclusive economic zone.

Canterbury also spent the day in Dunedin yesterday, arriving at the Beach St wharf at 8.20am and departing at 10.30pm.

Prairial will be open for guided visits from 3pm-5pm tomorrow, before the vessel leaves Dunedin at 8am on Wednesday.

Visits must be booked through the French Embassy at presse.wellingtonamba@diplomatie.gouv.fr

-nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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