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French Navy Frigate Cassard Escorted U.S. Vessel Through Strait of Hormuz

The French Navy (Marine Nationale) recently announced that the anti-air warfare frigate Cassard was tasked in mid-July to escort the American vessel "Black Eagle" through the Hormuz Strait between Iran and Oman. The French frigate is deployed in the area since 28 May.

French Navy Frigate Cassard Escort U.S. Vessel Through Strait of Hormuz The French Navy frigate Cassard. Picture: Marine Nationale

The French Navy says this operation was prepared and conducted on short notice, in connection with the ALINDIEN (French navy's Indian Ocean fleet command) operational controller and the command of the US Fifth Fleet via the French Liaison Detachment in Bahrain. It was carried out at the request of the United States anxious about protecting their units in a sensitive area.Thus, in mid-July, after crossing the strait for the first time in the east-west direction at high speed, the Cassard escorted on 16 July in the opposite direction the Black Eagle.

The passage of the Strait systematically requires stronger protection measures and adapted cinematics.This escort illustrates the interoperability and high level of trust between the French Navy and the US Navy.

The general cargo ship Black Eagle was previously known as A1C WILLIAM H PITSENBERGER (T-AK 4638) as part of the US Military Sealift Command container fleet. The ship is now listed as owned by the Tuskeejee Shipholding company and operated by the Red River Shipping company. However it is likely still conducting logistics missions for the U.S. military since its last known position was the Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean (according to Marine Traffic).

Black Eagle is diesel powered with a single shaft and is 189m in length with a beam of 32.3m. She has a speed of 17.5 knots and in the MSC fleet carried a 23-man civilian crew.

The Cassard class guided-missile destroyers (typed by the French Navy as frégates antiaériennes type F 70 AA or anti-aircraft frigates) are intended to participate in anti-aircraft operations, escort of capital ships (such as aircraft carriers or large amphibious vessels) as well as air and sea control. Both vessels of the class are homeported in Toulon naval base.