Almost Half of French Aircraft Carrier Crew Test Positive for COVID-19
Almost half the 2,300-strong crew on France’s sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the armed forces minister said on Friday.Florence Parly told parliament that 1,081 out of 2,010 tests carried out had shown a positive result.
France Sends Warship to Evacuate Coronavirus Patients
France will use a helicopter warship to transfer coronavirus patients in critical condition from Corsica to hospitals in the southeast of the country, its armed forces minister said on Friday.As of Thursday, there were 162 confirmed coronavirus cases on the Mediterranean island.
France, Australia Downplay Tensions over Submarine Deal
France and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to a A$50 billion ($34 billion) submarine deal on Friday, seeking to defuse tensions after French shipbuilder Naval Group raised concerns over the capability of Australian contractors.Australia signed a production contract with Naval Group in February 2019 for a fleet of 12 attack-class submarines, ending a two-year wrangle over one of the world's most lucrative defense deals.Australia had selected the French firm as its preferred bidder in 2016 ahead of other offers from Japan and Germany.
Stakeholders Ignore U.S. Middle East Coalition Proposals
The United States is struggling to win its allies' support for an initiative to heighten surveillance of vital Middle East oil shipping lanes because of fears it will increase tension with Iran, six sources familiar with the matter said.Washington proposed on July 9 stepping up efforts to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen where it blames Iran and its proxies for tanker attacks. Iran denies the charges.But with Washington's allies reluctant to commit new weaponry or fighting forces…
France Seals Navy Ship Deal with Romania
France's defense ministry said on Wednesday that defense firm Naval Group had won a 1.2 billion euro ($1.35 billion) contract to build four Gowind navy corvettes for Romania, as it looks to ensure security in the Black Sea.The deal, which will also see Naval Group renovate two existing Romanian frigates, ensures the delivery of the first ships in 2022."Romania becomes the first European country, but also the first NATO country, to acquire this type of warship," the French defense ministry said in a statement."The Godwin has the ideal capacity to ensure security in the Black Sea…
Saudi Ship Leaves France Without Arms Cargo
A Saudi vessel that had been due to load arms in France left the country's Le Havre port without its cargo of weapons and is now sailing towards Santander in Spain, according to ship tracking data, a local official and a lawyer.Two French human rights groups on Thursday sought to block the loading of weapons onto the ship through a legal filing, arguing the cargo contravened an international arms treaty.A French judge threw out their complaint but the Bahri-Yanbu moved off the coast of Le Havre shortly after.
CMA CGM Forms Venture with MACCFA
France's CMA CGM has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Ethiopian company MACCFA, as well as a letter of intent with ESLSE to manage Ethiopia's Modjo port, according to a document made available by the French President's office.Marseille-based CMA CGM, one of the world's largest container shipping lines, recently became the core shareholder in Ceva Logistics, with the company looking to expand in non-maritime freight services. (Reuters, Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
France Says Italy Flouting International Law on Migrant Ship
France's prime minister accused Italy on Tuesday of not meeting its international obligations after refusing to take in more than 600 migrants stranded aboard the rescue ship Aquarius."Italy, the Italian government, has chosen to not respect its international obligations terms of security for the people," Edouard Philippe told lawmakers. "This episode shows that there is no hope in the short-term for a national solution to this problem. There can only be a European response."Philippe said no European country had done more than France to try to stabilise the migrant crisis through its military operations in the Sahel region and its efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Libya.Reporting by John Irish
CMA CGM Returns to Net Profit in Q4
CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container line, swung back to a net profit in the fourth quarter of last year, supported by a recovery in freight rates and efficiency measures taken during a prolonged downturn in shipping, the company said. The improvement in the shipping market had continued at the start of 2017, but the sector remained fragile and CMA CGM did not plan to order any new vessels in the near term, it said in a financial results statement on Friday. It had also delayed taking delivery of three vessels scheduled for this year until 2018…
France Worried by Russian Warships off Crimea Coast, Urges Restraint
France called for restraint between Russia and Ukraine after warships from Moscow's Black Sea Fleet took up position off Crimea's western coastline in response to the start of Ukrainian missile tests nearby. "France is concerned about the deployment of Russian warships off Crimea's coastline," Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told reporters in a daily briefing. "We call on all parties to refrain from all escalation and urge dialogue to which France is ready to contribute in all possible ways." Kiev began two days of missile tests on Thursday, angering Russia, which has put its air defence forces on high alert saying it hopes the war games won't disrupt international flights. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. (Reporting by John Irish)
French Naval Group to Battle Islamic State
France to deploy aircraft carrier to help operations against Islamic State. France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will be deployed to support operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, France's presidency said in a statement on Thursday. "The deployment of the battle group alongside the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier has been decided to participate in operations against Daesch and its affiliate groups," the statement said after a defence cabinet meeting, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. The statement added that Paris supported efforts to reach a political transition in Syria, but that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in no way could be part of the country's future.
Egypt to Buy French Warships Initially Built for Russia
France has agreed to sell two Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt for 950 million euros ($1.06 billion) after their sale to Russia was canceled in August, French officials said on Wednesday. Cairo has sought to boost its military power in the face of a two-year insurgency based across the Suez Canal in the Sinai peninsula and fears the conflict in neighbouring Libya could spill over. Egypt's allies are also keen to burnish its image in a region beset by turmoil. "We unwound the contract we had with Russia, on good terms, respectful of Russia and not suffering any penalty for France," Hollande told reporters on his arrival at an EU summit in Brussels.
France Negotiating With Egypt over Helo Carriers
Two Mistrals were originally destined for Russia. France is in talks to sell two Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt after their sale to Russia was cancelled earlier this month, two sources close to the matter said on Wednesday. Cairo has sought to boost its military power in the face of a two-year-old insurgency based across the Suez Canal in the Sinai peninsula and fears the crisis in neighbouring Libya could spill over. Egypt's allies are also keen to burnish its image in a region beset by turmoil. A sale would also fit into France's recent strategy of favouring predominantly Sunni Arab nations, both politically and commercially, over their Shi'ite rival Iran.
Poland: France Should Pull Back from Russian Navy Deal
Poland's foreign minister urged France on Tuesday to cancel a 1.2 billion euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, saying these would be used to threaten east European nations. The United States and some European partners have been urging Paris to reconsider its supply of high-tech military hardware to Moscow following Russian action in Ukraine, including its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March. Asked if France should deliver the two vessels, Radoslaw Sikorski told Le Monde newspaper: "No, because Russian generals have already said what these ships will be used for: to threaten Russia's neighbors in the Black Sea and that means Europe's partners.
Oil Major Total Close to Angola Kaombo Decision
French oil major Total is on the verge of making a final investment decision on Angola's Kaombo oil project after lowering the cost by $4 billion, its chief executive said on Friday. "We're on the verge," Christophe de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an oil conference in Paris. The field is expected to produce 230,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with a start-up date expected in 2017. Sonangol P&P has a 30 percent stake in the project, Sonangol Sinopec International has 20 percent, ExxonMobil's Esso unit holds 15 percent and Total owns the remaining 30 percent.