On Saturday 13 September 2014 FGS Berlin conducted a RAS with Italian Navy destroyer, ITS Andrea Doria, the current flagship of the EU’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Atalanta.
Before the RAS commenced, all the sailors involved were fully briefed on their duties and then ITS Andrea Doria made a slow approach to the German Navy supply ship, FGS Berlin.
Having made her approach on the portside, ITS Andrea Doria adapted her speed and course to remain a distance of 42 meters from FGS Berlin.
During the replenishment strict safety regulations were observed. During the transfer of fuel, smoking was forbidden and the crews on the upper deck were required to wear a life vest and safety helmet.
To establish a connection between the two ships, a ‘Bola’ line was shot across from FGS Berlin to ITS Andrea Doria. With this line a total of three connections were made between the ships. Importantly, a range line was used to mark the distance between the units.
Good communication between the units is crucial during a RAS. One important method of communications is the signalling disc. With the disc, sailors from both nations, who may speak different languages can clearly communicate with each other.
Due to the expertise of both ships’ crews the RAS was completed after just one hour, with 270,000 litres of fuel having been replenished. Immediately after, the working areas were cleaned in preparation for the next RAS.
ITS Andrea Doria, from which Rear Admiral Guido Rando commands the EU Naval Force warships and sailors at sea, was the 14th warship to be replenished by FGS Berlin since she commenced Operation Atalanta. She will complete more manoeuvres such as this until the beginning of October. After which she will return home to her base port in Germany.