April 4, 2017 – The first in a series of four new Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers has arrived in the UK after a 15,000-mile delivery voyage.
Built by DSME in South Korea, the 39,000-tonne RFA Tidespring is now at the A&P yard in Falmouth to undergo ‘customization’ work, including the fitting of specialist communications equipment and self-defense weapons, before entering into service by the end of this year.
The new Tide class tankers replace the RFA’s old single-hulled vessels and have been designed to meet the latest MARPOL and SOLAS Convention requirements. Capable of carrying up to 19,000 cu m of fuel and 1,300 cu m of fresh water, the tankers have been designed to provide core support to the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, alongside the wider fleet.
‘This is a momentous day for the RFA,’ said Commodore Duncan Lamb. ‘We have not had a new ship come into service for well over 10 years and this is a very much-needed and welcome increase in capability for us. We are really impressed with the capability the ship delivers and the Tide class will support the Navy’s global reach for decades to come.’
Nautilus senior national secretary Steve Doran commented: ‘It’s always good to welcome a new ship — but especially good in this case, as the Tide class ships have been a long time coming. We are delighted to see the RFA flotilla being upgraded in this way, with new tonnage that enhances its vital role in providing professional and efficient strategic support.’