On 2 July 2014, German Auxiliary Replenishment Tanker FGS Rhön completed her time deployed as part of EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta.
The ship has significantly contributed to the success of the EU’s Counter Piracy Operation off the coast of Somalia for the last three months.
FGS Rhön has conducted 24 Replenishments at Sea (RAS) with eleven different ships from Operation Atalanta but also from NATO and the Comined Maritime Forces (CMF). With these RAS, ships from Australia, Canada, Turkey, Netherlands, Spain, France, Greece and Germany were able to maintain a continued presence in the area of operation. Rhön has transferred more than 4,500 cubic metres (4.5 million litres) of ship and aviation fuel. Travelling nearly 19,000 nautical miles (35,000 km) she also contributed to surveillance and, therefore, to the deterrence and prevention of piracy.
Although the German tanker was commissioned 37 years ago, her fuelling system is of the latest type and Rhön can provide the very highest quality of aviation fuel that is required in the new helicopters like the NH-90 embarked on HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën.
The EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen stressed the value of a tanker within the task force: “The service Rhön provided has increased our flexibility to deploy the different ships within the area of operation because we were not dependant on harbour support for fuel.”
Press Release, July 03, 2014; Image: EV NAVFOR