Royal Navy’s oldest vessel starts Indian Ocean deployment

RFA Fort Rosalie approaching the Suez Canal Bridge. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Rosalie, the UK’s oldest ship in naval service, recently started a six-month deployment in Southwest Asia entering the Red Sea through the Suez Canal.

Replacing sister ship RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Rosalie will be helping allied warships sustain the constant fight against terrorism/drug trafficking/piracy/smuggling east of Suez.

Warships assigned to the two task groups patrolling the Indian Ocean – including frigate HMS Monmouth at present – are expected to cover an area the size of Western Europe looking for suspicious activity.

To maintain them on patrol, rather than popping back to ports such as Djibouti, Muscat, Dar el Salaam and so on, several international support ships such as Fort Rosalie keep them supplied with food, ammunition and spare parts.

The auxiliary can also serve as a floating base for RN Wildcats and Sea Kings operating in the region.

“Her arrival in the Middle East region not only provides the capability to replenish warships whilst underway, but also continues to bolster the RN presence here as part of the UK’s commitment to the Middle East region,” said Fort Rosalie’s commanding officer Capt Jonathan Huxley RFA.

His ship was commissioned in the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, went through an extensive refit/overhaul in 2015, and is expected to remain in service until 2024, three years shy of half a century of service.

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