Amphibious assault helicopter carrier of the Marine Nationale, FS Tonnerre (L9014), voyaged to the island of Corsica in order to evacuate critically-ill coronavirus patients from Ajaccio and transfer them to hospitals in southern France, the French government has announced on 20th March.
The decision was adopted by French President Emmanuel Macron to ease pressure on the ICU unit of the hospital of Ajaccio and help the hospital in responding to the needs of the most seriously ill patients, authorities said.
Tonnerre has two operating theatres and 69 hospital beds on board, along with berthing areas for troops. The vessel’s medical bays will be cordoned off and isolated from the rest of the vessel, including the ventilation system.
Tonnerre (means Thunder) is an amphibious assault helicopter carrier of the Marine Nationale. She is the eighth vessel to bear the name and the second ship in the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship series.
Tonnerre was laid down in two parts. On 26 August 2003, the aft part was laid down by Arsenal de Brest at Brest and the bow part was laid down 5 May 2004 by Chantiers de Saint-Nazaire at Saint-Nazaire. The vessel was launched on 26 July 2005 and began active service in December 2006.