French frigate docks in Ho Chi Minh City on fifth Vietnam visit

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A French National Marine frigate with 93 crew members on board docked at the Saigon Port Friday, starting a five day visit.

The Vendémiaire's officers and sailors will meet with the city leaders and the leadership of Vietnam's Southern Naval Command in the coming days, as well as visit several attractions in the city.

They will also play a friendly volleyball match with Vietnam's counterparts.

Captain Jean-Christophe Oliéric said this is the frigate's fifth visit in Vietnam. The last visit took place last April in the northern port of Hai Phong.

The light monitoring warship will also visit several Asian countries this time to mark a symbolic presence of France in the region, he said.

Vendémiaire, 93 meters long and 14 meters wide, was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led International peacekeeping taskforce from in 1999.

It operates mostly in the Pacific region, and is equipped with a helicopter, an Exocet missile, an ammunition tower and two guns.

Besides monitoring and maintaining foreign military relationships, the frigate also carries out rescue missions and trains French marine forces in environmental protection.

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