Over 500 French naval crew members and officials on the military vessel F734 Vendemiaire paid a goodwill port call in Suva Tuesday

Captain Mocard Emmanuel said this visit also marks a renewed commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between Fiji and France.

The visit is part of their Jeanne D’Arc mission, where cadets and officers are deployed for humanitarian and operational training in other countries.

Emmanuel said they are expected to engage with the Fiji Navy about the assistance and services they can offer.

“The Jeanne D’Arc mission is not only a training one; it also allows France to strengthen its regional partnership to enhance the inoperability of the French navy with partners and contribute to the enforcement of maritime security.”

French Army Pilot Lieutenant Baptiste said Jeanne D’Arc mission also contributes to safeguarding marine territories and fighting against drug trafficking.

“By working with the French navy, our mission is to assist in preparation after natural disasters and fight against drug trafficking.”

Meanwhile, Cadets Ensign Lucille and Gauthier, who are practicing naval ship officers on French ship Mission Jeanne D’Arc are enjoying their 48 hour visit in the Fijian waters.

20-year-old Lucille said coming to Fiji and navigating across the world is like a dream come true for her.

“This is my first big mission around the world and we are looking at our navigation through the world this year. I see this as a big opportunity to discover the culture and different countries like Fiji.”

“This is my first time here in Fiji and I feel very lucky to be part of the ship. It has been part of my dream since I was 18 years old and I got more interested during the training.”

“This is part of the training and the mission as well where we learn how to deal with challenges we face. It’s not as difficult as people think. We communicate with our family through calls and emails.”

23-year-old Gauthier encouraged aspiring naval officers in Fiji never give up their dream and work hard towards achieving them.

“I wanted to be a naval officer since childhood and it was a tough journey but I never gave up.”

“My message to the people here is to believe in yourself that you can pursue your dream and try your best.”

The ship will depart for Tonga on Wednesday.