The Durance class is a series of multi-product replenishment oilers
A replenishment oiler or fleet tanker is a naval auxiliary ship with fuel tanks and dry cargo holds, which can replenish other ships while underway in the high seas. Such ships are used by several countries around the world....
, originally designed and built for service in the French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...
. Besides the five ships built for the French Navy, a sixth was built for the Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...
, while the lead ship
The lead ship or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable military ships and larger civilian craft.-Overview:...
of the class currently serves with the Argentine Navy
The Navy of the Argentine Republic or Armada of the Argentine Republic is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force....
Five ships of the class were built for the French Navy:
- Durance (A629)
The ARA Patagonia is a multi-product replenishment oiler of the Durance class in service in the Argentine Navy. She was the lead ship of her class serving in the French Navy as Durance from 1977 to 1999....
- Meuse (A607)
- Var (A608)
- Marne (A630)
- Somme (A631)
In French service, the ships are dubbed Bâtiment de commandement et ravitailleur (BCR, "command and replenishment ship"): in addition to their role as a fleet tanker, than can harbour an entire general staff and supervise naval operations. Admiral Indian (Ocean), the French Navy's command for the Indian Ocean region ALINDIEN
ALINDIEN is a French naval acronym designing the admiral in charge of the maritime zone of the Indian Ocean, and of the French forces there. The office has been held by Contre-amiral Jacques Launay since 31 December 2006...
, was permanently stationed aboard such a ship until 2010.
Durance has been sold to the Argentine Navy; the remaining four vessels are still in service as of 2008. Three ships of the class (Marne, Somme, and Var) are fitted out as flagships and can embark an admiral and his staff. In October 2009, Somme repelled an attack by Somali pirates
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...
Royal Australian Navy
A single ship of the class was built, in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
, for the Royal Australian Navy:. Success is in service as of 2011.
The leading ship of the class was sold to the Argentine Navy in 1999; she serves under the name ARA Patagonia (B-1)