The Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new tanker RFA Tidespring has sailed into Portsmouth ahead of her dedication ceremony on November 27.
The 39,000 tonne tanker will be brought into service with the RFA – the civilian-manned fleet of support vessels which provide fuel, food and stores for Royal Navy warships all over the world.
RFA Tidespring and her three sister ships are flexible, state-of-the-art vessels that will provide key support to the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.
They are part of the UK government’s £178million equipment plan to provide the Armed Forces with the kit that it needs to provide effective operational support across the globe.
Head of the RFA Commodore Duncan Lamb said: “Tidespring’s arrival in Portsmouth today is an exciting milestone in the history of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She is a tangible demonstration of the success of the MARS Tanker project which is delivering first-class global support for a first-class global navy.”
RFA Tidespring’s Commanding Officer Captain Simon Herbert said: “Sailing the first of class of any ships is an immense privilege and I am extremely proud to be able to bring this highly modern, capable ship into Portsmouth Naval Base today.
“Not only are we the first of the Tide class but we are also the first to sail with HMS Queen Elizabeth once she officially joins the Royal Navy later this year, and that is a huge honour for myself and the ship’s company.”
Earlier this week RFA Tidespring held her first RAS off the UK’s South coast with RFA Wave Knight, ensuring that all aspects of transferring fuel lines to another ship were successfully completed.
The Tide Class tankers are replacing the RFA’s current ageing single-hulled tankers. Larger than their predecessors and double hulled, they are an advanced capability specifically designed to provide fuel and water to the carriers. They can also accommodate a Chinook helicopter on their flight decks.
They will also be able to undertake a range of maritime operations such as policing shipping lanes and providing humanitarian relief.
The ships will predominately be based out of Falmouth.
• The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the Ministry of Defence, which provides world-class, cost-effective maritime operational support to the Royal Navy. The RFA enables ships of the RN to maintain operations 24/7, 365 days a year, around the world.
• The RFA is the largest UK employer of British merchant seamen.