SFOR teams ready to take on tons of work
By 1Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
- The frosty morning air nips at the crews in the Port at Ploce
where a thousand tons of cold armour and steel await their final
departure from the Balkans. Within minutes the engines from more
than 70 vehicles roar. Together with over 60 containers of equipment,
all has to be registered, loaded, stored and strapped onboard
the freight ship Tidero Star. The Multinational Platoon manning
the harbour has tons of work to do before the day is over - a
day like many others for those manning this important port for
French detachment from the Logistic Battalion in Mostar (BatLog)
and an Italian APAF cell from RELOCO man the platoon. The service
they can provide to SFOR contributing nations is extensive.
come from Base De Transit Interarmees in France, a specialised
section dealing with all movement of troops and equipment for
the French armies", he says. That is a lot of movement, with
permanent routes to the Pacific, West Africa, the West Indies,
and the Indian Ocean.
unit here at Ploce is also permanent, and can, moreover, arrange
transit of equipment to and from Ploce by rail", said Capt.
in all there are 5,483 cubic metres of cargo, weighing 991,000
kilos. The numbers must be precise. Every single unit has been
registered with bar-codes, giving the precise information of weight,
measurements, destinations, and which unit it belongs to. As they
are rolled on to the ship, the codes are read. Nothing is unaccounted
for in Ploce Harbour.
is a big load for us here at Ploce. The challenge is to get enough
space for the vehicles", says Lt. Alexandre Charton. He commands
the French soldiers in the Multinational Platoon, all from 519
Regiment Du Train in La Rochelle (France). As a sub-unit to Base
De Transit Interarmees, they are experts in handling cargo. Not
an inch is wasted as containers and vehicles are placed in the
noise of the trucks, lifts, ship engine, and the smell of oil,
gas, and exhaust makes this a difficult workspace. During the
loading chains used to lash the cargo with get heavier and heavier.
It is not an easy job for the soldiers, but we are aware of this.
Therefore, we have not had any accidents", said Lt. Charton.
am a helicopter technician, and not specialised in this specific
work like my French and Italian colleagues. Working with them
is a great experience."
Italian soldiers in the platoon are tasked with all material movement
in the port and storage area. They are also responsible for transporting
vehicles and containers out to the Italian units all over the
has a good harbour. There is not so much civilian traffic, which
lets us use any pier without any problems. Our relationship with
the local port authorities is very good. We usually get what we
ask for", he stated.