RFA Empire Rosa



RFA Empire Rosa off Invergordon


Previous name:
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                       180224

Class:                                     Miscellaneous Harbour Tug - IMPROVED STELLA Class

Pennant No:                            A397

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Blyth Drydock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Blyth

Launched:                               6 December 1945

Into Service:                            April 1946
Out of service:                         3 December 1977
Fate:                                       Broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   There were a number of vessels which fell into the category of Miscellaneous Harbour Tugs which all belonged to different Classes and which were based at various Naval Bases for general duties


6 December 1945 launched by Blyth Drydock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd., Blyth as Yard Nr:315 named EMPIRE ROSA for the MoWT

19 February 1946 sailed Blyth under tow of the tug Great Emperor to Sunderland

15 April 1946 completed and handed over to Townsend Bros Ferries Ltd., London for onward delivery

21 July 1946 at Scapa Flow to replace EMPIRE TEAK under management of Overseas Towage &  Salvage Co Ltd, London

Empire Teak

Tug Empire Teak

18 October 1946 arrived at Dundee towing a floating crane from Scapa Flow and berthed on the Eastern Wharf

23 October 1946 sailed Dundee towing a floating crane for Chatham

24 October 1946 arrived Sunderland towing a floating crane while on passage from Dundee to Chatham - weather bound

29 October 1946 sailed Sunderland towing a floating crane for Chatham

22 February 1947 sailed with RFA Empire Netta and the Fishguard life boat to render assistance to the tanker Empire Dolphin which had been under tow off the South Wales coast when her tug Warrior broke down and had to abandon the tow.

1948 operated by Senior Officer Reserve Fleet, Pembroke Dock

2 April 1949 transferred to the Director of Boom Defence, civilian manned under RFA conditions.

15 April 1949 Captain M McLeod appointed as Master

12 September 1949 Mr A Butler appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 September 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound with a tow

8 September 1951 at Pembroke Dock assisting HMS MANXMAN when she sailed



16 January 1954 - sailed from Pembroke Dock to rescue a ship Inverforth in heavy weather off the Old Head of Kinsale.

26 June 1954 Captain R Chudleigh appointed as Master

25 October 1954 was involved with RFA Empire Netta and various RN ships in the search for a Gloster Javelin aircraft which had crashed in the Bristol Channel off Flatholme

11 August 1955 the Shields Daily News reported -


Shields Daily 11 8 1955 Empire Rosa

28 April 1956 Mr T Walker appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 September 1957 Captain A E B Park appointed as Master

11 September 1958 was involved in the rescue and landing of the crew of a Costa Rican steamer Concha with HMS CHICHESTER after the steamer caught fire and sank off Milford Haven

28 May 1959 grounded on an uncharted underwater obstruction and repairs cost  £3,250

5 July 1963 Mr P B Hopkins appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 October 1963 transferred to the Clyde Areas and acted as Relief Tug for Londonderry

15 December 1963 sailed Greenock to assist a vessel which had run aground on the Black Rock near Oban

23 December 1963 Mr R Arlow appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1964 owners became the Secretary of State for Defence

15 June 1964 Collided with USNS BETELGEUSE while assisting her berthing at Holy Loch. A wire fouled her propeller and she took in water aft. She had to be towed to a buoy by another tug. The US Navy provided a diver to give assistance to clear the wire around her propeller



12 September 1964 Captain W M Baine appointed as Master

June 1965 Captain W Finlay appointed as Master and Mr A Beggs appointed as Chief Engineer Officers

January 1966 Captain J B Bowler appointed as Master

15 August 1968 Mr N C Hardy appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 December 1968 berthed at Ardrossan while towing HMS Loch Fadda

28 November 1970 transferred to Invergordon, civilian manned but no longer under RFA conditions

12 January 1972 de-equipped and towed by RFA TYPHOON from Invergordon to Luce Bay

29 March 1972 used as a permanent Range Boundry Marker / Target Vessel at Luce Bay.

3 December 1977 broke adrift from her moorings during a storm, capsized and was washed ashore in Luce Bay. Was later refloated by RMAS MANDARIN but was declared a constructive total loss

March 1978 sold to W.H. Arnott Young & Co Ltd for breaking up at Dalmuir but was later towed to Troon for final demolition there

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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