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French president, Emmanuel Macron, has recently announced that France has ordered six new 70 meter long patrol vessels from Socarenam, a shipyard on the country’s northern coast, to patrol the nation’s economic exclusive zone.

Economic exclusive zones (EEZ) are areas in the ocean or sea that countries have rights and ownership over. A country has total control over the maritime resources in its own EEZ. Each EEZ expands 200 nautical miles from the shore of a country’s territory. 

France has the largest economic exclusive zone in the world, with over 4.5 million square miles of sea belonging to the nation, this is due to the large amount of the country’s territories spread around the world . The United States comes second in the world, with an EEZ of about 4.38 million square miles.

Macron has mentioned that ships have been ordered in order to defend French fishing resources, biodiversity, and international maritime law. “France intends to fully exercise her sovereignty and responsibilities both in her metropolitan and overseas territories.”

Each vessel ordered has a max speed of about 22 knots that it can hold for 24 hours. The vessel’s cruising speed is between 12 and 14 knots and at that speed, the vessel has a range of 5.5 thousand nautical miles, according to Defensenews.com, this makes it possible for the vessel to stay at sea for a month.

It has been reported that the ships will carry a 20 mm remote controlled machine gun, however no official word on the weapon’s specifications have been published. Furthermore, the ship will be able to deploy a 700 kilogram rotor blade drone, as well as divers and two high-speed intervention boats. The ships will also have room to secure up to six prisoners.

The ships are expected to be delivered to the French Navy between 2022 and 2025.

The ships, known as POM in France, will operate mainly in France’s Pacific Ocean territories and Indian Ocean territories. The exact destination for each vessel has not been officially announced yet.