The lead ship in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new tanker fleet, the RFA Tidespring, has arrived in Portsmouth to prepare for her November 27 dedication ceremony, the Royal Navy announced.
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.
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.”
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 dedication ceremony in 11 days’ time will see RFA Tidespring officially join the RFA Fleet.