Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Tidespring arrived in Japan on February 9 for a scheduled stop on its way to UK waters.
RFA Tidespring is the lead ship of Tide-class tankers built for Great Britain by the South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
As the first of four ships that will be built, Tidespring was accepted by the UK Ministry of Defence on January 12, 2017, ten months behind schedule.
Tidespring was laid down in December 2014 and launched in April 2015. The tanker was expected to reach UK waters in 2016 for further outfitting but was delayed by electrical design changes and wiring issues.
RFA Tiderace, the second tanker in line, was unveiled in South Korea in December 2016. Despite the delays on the first vessel, the UK still expects to have all four tankers delivered by 2018.
RFA Tidespring, RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce are 201 meters long, with a beam of nearly 29 metres and displace more than 37,000 tonnes.
Designed by BMT Defence Services, the tankers will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and will provide fuel to warships and task groups. They will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore and will have the ability to operate helicopters.