Sailboat collides with the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle

  • No one was injured after a sailboat collided with the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
  • The company trained from Toulon and launched a team to assist the crew on the sailboat after the collision.

Friday, November 12, 2021, around noon. 7.30 LT, a 10 meter long sailboat sailing under the Polish flag collided with the Marine Nationale (the French Navy) aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle about 40 nautical miles (70 km) southeast of the Hyères Islands, announced the Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean.

No injuries were reported, with material consequences only for the sailboat that was dismantled.

The incident took place when the flagship of the French navy was carrying out training activities off Toulon.

“Charles de Gaulle discovered too late a sailboat about ten meters at a very short distance, shortly before 07:30,” says the report of the French authorities. “Despite an emergency maneuver to avoid this sailboat, and in the absence of its response, a collision occurred around 7:30 a.m. between the sailboat and the hull of Charles de Gaulle.”

Immediately after the collision, Charles de Gaulle began several actions to assess the status of the sailboat and its crew and rescue them: radio contact with the skipper was established and an assistance team was launched.

The only person on board the sailboat, the skipper, was unharmed; the hull of the sailboat was intact, and the greatest damage to the small vessel was the loss of the mast.

Sailboat collision with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle

A sailboat involved in the collision with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on 12 November 2021.

Maritime Prefecture in the Mediterranean


Two Charles de Gaulle boats were used to secure the sailboat and prepare for towing in difficult weather conditions (sea condition 4, 25 knots wind).

“At the same time, the Mediterranean Operations Center (COM) located in the Mediterranean prefecture of the Mediterranean in Toulon ordered the rerouting of the chartered tug VN Rebel, to organize the towing of the sailboat to the port of Hyères. Out in cooperation with the Mediterranean Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (CROSS), the purpose of this assistance operation, with the consent of the owner of the sailboat, is to repatriate it to a port where it can deal with its damage. in Hyères is scheduled for around 6pm. “

A technical investigation is underway, as always happens after a naval incident involving a French naval vessel; however, the collision will not affect Charles de Gaulle’s training activities, said the Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean.

Charles de Gaulle and his attacking squad returned to their home port of Toulon after a nearly four-month-long deployment in June last year.

Launched on 21 February 2021, the “Clemenceau 21” mission saw the French attack group sail approximately 27,000 nautical miles between the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf and, under national command, also Operation Inherent Resolve and Chammal (the French military operation in Iraq and Syria was launched in September 2014) and is collaborating with several allies and partner nations, including the British Aircraft Attack Group as part of the “Gallic Strike” exercise in the Mediterranean.

After returning from deployment, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle assumed a maintenance period of three months and returned to service in late September.

It will be involved in the high-intensity exercise Polaris in the coming weeks.

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