RFA Fort Victoria

RFA Fort Victoria

 

 

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Subsequent name:

Official Number:                      722240

Class:                                     FORT CLASS Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ship

Pennant No:                           A387

Laid down:                             4 April 1988
Builder:                                  Harland & Wolff,  Belfast
Launched:                              12 June 1990
Into Service:                           24 June 1994
Out of service:
Fate:

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  The “one-stop” concept of the 2 ships in this Class dates back to 1978 with a Staff Target being generated in 1981. Feasibility studies were conducted by both the MoD and Industry, and a Staff Requirement was endorsed at the end of 1983. Ministerial approval was given in 1984 to invite Industry to tender for a provisional Class of 6 vessels. A wide range of shipbuilders and defence firms were invited to tender, but only 2 consortia submitted designs - Harland and Wolff (in association with Yarrow Shipbuilders) and Swan Hunter (in association with British Aerospace/Marconi). The tender submitted by Harland and Wolff was technically preferred by both the MoD and external consultants as it offered earlier delivery and a keener price. The Government announced on 24 April 1986 that a “design and build” contract had been awarded to Harland and Wolff to build the first ship of the Class. A second (and final) order was awarded to Swan Hunter the following year

17 November 1987 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her .

15 September 1988 laid down in the large dry dock by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr 1727

9 January 1989 Mr Robert Settle RFA appointed Chief Engineer Officer

10 July 1989 Captain (E) Robert Settle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 May 1990 floated out

June 1990 Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

19 June 1990 officially named FORT VICTORIA by HRH Duchess of York

6 September 1990 became the victim of two IRA bombs in her engine room. One was defused the other exploded causing damage and flooding

29 June 1992 sailed Belfast on Contractor’s Sea Trials 2 years later than originally planned

6 July 1992 arrived Birkenhead for completion and for rectification of damage sustained during sea trials. The Builders sub-contracted the work to Cammell Laird Shipbuilders Ltd due  to the heavy backlog of shipbuilding work at Belfast

16 July 1992 the National Audit Office announced that both of the FORT CLASS AOR’s were subject to delays and cost overruns, FORT VICTORIA 32 months behind schedule and more than £63m over budget. Delays in the development of the command system for their air defence capabilities and difficulties in obtaining parts mean that neither AOR will go to sea with full air defence capabilities for some considerable time. The NAO also concluded that problems resulting from the privatisation of the shipyard  have played a significant part in the delay in delivery and the cost overrun

31 July 1992 adopted by the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley

March 1993 Cammell Laird Shipbuilders Ltd closed down

24 March 1993 ship handed over to the MoD (N).  Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

5 April 1993 sailed Birkenhead with between 15,000 and 20,000 items incomplete

7 April 1993 arrived Portsmouth Dockyard for completion and defect rectification in D Lock by FMRO, 3 years behind schedule and £70m over budget

4 August 1993 sailed Portsmouth for trials after completion at a total cost of £200m

12 August 1993 returned to Portsmouth after numerous systems’ failures had resulted in having to anchor in Weymouth Bay to carry out temporary repairs

7 January 1994 finally sailed Portsmouth for her long- overdue Part 1V Sea Trials

28 February 1994 Captain Alan Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

29 April 1994 Captain (E) Robert Settle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 June 1994 Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

 

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Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA

 

24 August 1994 1st Officer (E) Phillip L Bandy RFA discharged dead

25 August 1994 fire broke out in the cargo main pump room while at Torpoint, Cornwall. No casualties

13 September 1994 sailed Devonport after repairs

27 February 1995 humanitarian aid - rescued the 11 crew members of the Norwegian trawler ROALDNES which sank off Aslasund. The crew were kept in the ship’s hospital overnight before being flown back to Norway the following day

29 September 1995 Captain Alan Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

5 July 1996 Captain S F Hodgson RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

28 November 1996 Captain David M Pitt RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

27 April 1997 Captain Jeremy R J Carew OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

5 June 1997 Captain David Gerrard RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

 

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Captain David Gerrard RFA

2 September 1997 sailed Portsmouth for the Gulf supporting the carrier HMS INVINCIBLE

12 September 1997 at Malaga, Spain

14 November 1997 to 17 April 1998 along with the carrier HMS INVINCIBLEserved on Operation Bolton - deployment to the Gulf to enforce UN Resolutions against Iraq

23 December 1997 Captain Nigel A Jones RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

8 January 1998 Captain Christopher Knapp RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

18 January 1998 transitted the Suez Canal southbound and met up with the frigate HMS COVENTRYat the southern end of the Red Sea for a fast passage to the Gulf

26 January 1998 entered the Straits of Hormuz

17 April 1998 departed the Gulf Areas for the U.K

May 1998 Captain Nigel A Jones RFA in command

17 July 1998 with HMS MARLBOROUGH visited Latakia, Syria

5 September 1998 Captain P A Taylor OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

1999 during a refit at Rosyth she was fitted with the Phalanx close-in weapon system with guns on her hangar and bridge roof

July 1999 Captain Nigel A Jones RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

2 December 1999 Captain A Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

2 May 2000 sailed U.K. as part of Task Group 2000 - the Eastern Adventure Deployment circumnavigation of the globe led by the frigate HMS CORNWALL - along with  RFA’s BAYLEAF(3) and DILIGENCE

19 July 2000 Captain P A Taylor OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

7 August 2000 with RN and French naval units paid a visit to Hong Kong

17 March 2001 Captain J Murchie RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

11 May 2001 to 14 May 2001 berthed at Vigo, Spain

23 August 2001 Captain R L Williams RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

10 January 2002 berthed at Gibraltar

2002 the ship and Barnsley celebrated their 10th anniversary with a Naval Parade through the town 

2 August 2002 Captain J Murchie RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

29 September 2002 Captain R L Williams RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

28 October 2002 to 2 November 2002 berthed at Barcelona

18 January 2003 deployed on Operation Telic- the 2nd Gulf War - along with 13 other RFA’s with 4 x Merlin helicopters from No. 814 NAS embarked

2 May 2003 to 8 May 2003 berthed at Gibraltar

18 May 2003 returned to Crombie on completion of Operation Telic duties

2003 following participation in Operation Telic her ensign was presented to the borough of Barnsley and this is displayed in the foyer of Barnsley Town Hall

26 April 2003 Captain Jamie Murchie RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

20 October 2003 Captain R L Williams RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

17 November 2003 RASed HMS INVINCIBLE in the North Sea

10 September 2004 while at Falmouth a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyor, and a lifeboat crew member, sustained back injuries during a planned lifeboat exercise drill. The on-load release gear was operated without another check being made on the boat’s distance above the water. This resulted in the boat freefalling a distance of about 1.2m, before striking the water. The impact with the water resulted in one crewman being hospitalised due to a fractured vertebrae, and the surveyor suffering a back injury which required subsequent medical assistance 

12 November 2004 Captain William M Walworth OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

a Maritime and Coastguard Agency
(MCA) surveyor, and a lifeboat crew member, sustained back
injuries during a planned lifeboat exercise drilla Maritime and Coastguard Agency(MCA) surveyor, and a lifeboat crew member, sustained backinjuries during a planned lifeboat exercise drill

28 June 2005 took part in the International Fleet Reviewfor Trafalgar 200 at Spithead along with RFA’s ARGUS, FORT GEORGE, ORANGELEAF (3), SIR BEDIVERE, SIR  GALAHAD (2) , SIR TRISTRAM and WAVE RULER(2)

12 July 2005 Captain P B Minter RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

20 July 2005 visited by HRH the Prince of Wales and the  Duchess of Cornwall

12 September 2005 Captain William M Walworth OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

1 January 2006 alongside at Bahrain

29 January 2006 Captain W G Tait RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

26 February 2006 Captain William M Walworth OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

29 March 2006 sailed Portsmouth as part of the Aquila 06 Deploymentto the Middle East led by the carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS- along with RFA’s BRAMBLELEAF(3) and DILIGENCE

17 May 2006 involved with RN and Indian Navy units in Operation Konkan, a training operation off Goa, India

13 June 2006 during Operation Aquilain the northern Indian Ocean, she conducted a fresh water  RAS with the Pakistani dhow SUBHANALLAH

16 July 2006 supported Operation Highbrow- the evacuation of British nationals from the Lebanon - with the carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, the assault ship HMS BULWARK, the destroyers HMS GLOUCESTER and HMS YORK and the frigate HMS ST ALBANS

30 August 2006 Captain David L Lamb RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

7 October 2006 in Plymouth Sound

11 October 2006 to 13 October 2006 at Cherbourg, France

12 December 2006 with RN units involved in a search off Portland Bill, Dorset for a fisherman who had fallen overboard from a fishing vessel. Not found despite over 6 hours of searching

11 February 2007 alongside at Loch Striven Oil Fuel Depot

1 March 2007 Captain W G Tait RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

18 June 2007 at Portsmouth in No 3 basin

27 October 2008 sailed under tow from Portsmouth Dockyard for a refit in Birkenhead

10 September 2009 suffered a fire in a cargo store area near the engine room while under refit at Cammell Lairds - fire contained and no one was injured

12 October 2009 Captain Rob W Dorey RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

22 November 2009 off Crombie, River Forth

10 November 2009 while in refit at Liverpool at NE Canada Dock an employee of a Cammell Lairds supplier fell some 24 feet to his death in the engine room

12 November 2009 Captain P S Whyte MBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

11 November 2009 sailed Liverpool after refit

12 March 2010 at Portsmouth

15 May 2010 berthed on the River Tyne

25 May 2010 Captain C G Clarke MBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

11 August 2010 Captain Rob W Dorey RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

18 October 2010 while conducting piracy patrols as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151off the coast of Somalia the ship identified a "suspicious whaler towing a skiff". The whaler contained a significant amount of fuel barrels and when approached by the ships helicopter, four of the nine passengers tried to hide themselves from view. Suspecting that they may have found a Pirate Action Group (PAG), Fort Victoria was granted approval to conduct a boarding by the CTF 151 Commander, Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugral, Turkish Navy. Royal Marines from the Fleet Protection Group (FPGRM) approached, the suspected pirates attempted to flee for shore but were rapidly surrounded, the Royal marines found they were carrying six AK-47s, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with four warheads and six RPG booster charges along with hand-held GPS units, mobile phones and other equipment. The nine suspects were transferred to the smaller skiff, and the Royal Marines disabled the outboard engine and gave them oars, Once they were safely ashore, the whaler was rigged with explosives and destroyed along with other confiscated pirate paraphernalia.

13 November 2010 while conducting piracy patrols as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 (Operation Ocean Shield) between the coast of Somalia and the Seychelles detected another boat with ten pirates with ammunition and ladders. The pirates admitted to throwing their firearms over the side. The pirates were returned to Somalia, the boat, ammunition and ladders were seized

8 February 2011 Captain I N Pilling RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

27 May 2011 Temporary Acting Captain (E) Mike New RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 September 2011 Captain Shaun Jones RFA appointed Commanding Officer

Shaun Jones

Captain Shaun Jones RFA

12 October 2011 while conducting piracy patrols as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 (Operation Ocean Shield) off the coast of Somalia and in company with the USS De Wert stopped, boarded and released from the clutches of pirates who had seized the Italian bulk carrier the 56,000 ton MV Montecristo. Eleven pirates were detailed

14 October 2011 some 200 (320km) off the coast of Somalia, together with HMS SOMERSET closed on a pirate dhow mother ship Hibid Fidi which was boarded. Four suspected pirates were detained and handed over to the Italian authorities. The genuine crew of the dhow were released

31 October 2011 anchored off Mahe, Seychelles

2 November 2011 alongside at Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles

28 December 2011 alongside at Dubai

2 January 2012 sailed Dubai

10 January 2012 off Somalia forced a gang of pirates to abandon an attempt to hijack cargo ships by identifying a hijaked ship - mv Liquid Velvet - which had sailed from Somalia to act as a 'mother ship' by a gang of pirates. The mv Liquid Velvet returned to her anchorage off Somalia when her way was cut off when it was 90 miles off the coast.

13 January 2012 off Somalia in a join Royal Marine (from the RFA Fort Victoria) / USS Carney operation 13 suspected pirates were detained in a dhow in which a cache of weapons were discovered 

23 February 2012 alongside at Port Rashid, UAE

24 February 2012 Captain I N Pilling RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

3 May 2012 members of the US Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Severn Severn (HSM-77) "Sabrehawks" from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with one MH-60R helicopter under the command of Lieutenant Commander Aric "Bull" Edmondson USN embarked on RFA Fort Victoria

 

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27 July 2012 Fort Victoria's adopted town - Barnsley's Sea Cadet Unit led by their Commanding Officer rang the bell donated by the ship to the town to mark the commencement of the Olympic Games in London

 

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2 August 2012 Temporary Acting Captain (E) Mike New RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 August 2012 sailed Dubai to sea

19 August 2012 Captain Shaun Jones RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

24 September 2012 berthed at Dubai - and dry docked

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Above six images copyright © Shaun P.Jones

28 September 2012 In the Operational Honours List of this day Captain Shaun Jones RFA appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to be an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) (OBE). Chief Officer Simon K Booth RFA and 1st Officer Duncan K Vernoum RFA both awarded a Command Joint Operations (CJO) Commendation for OP Capri 2. 1st Officer Anthony C Day RFA and Petty Officer Allister F Strachan RFA both received a Fleet Commander's Commendation. Two of the UK embedded forces were also in receipt of awards Major Adam Whitmarsh, Royal Marines received the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service and Lieutenant Alistair J Thompson, Royal Navy and Petty Officer (Reg) Carol Morton-Harrowsmith received a Commander Joint Operations (CJO) Commendation

 

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RFA Fort Victoria's embedded helicopter

FortVic pilot Lt A J Thompson 

RFA Fort Victoria's embedded pilot - Lieutenant Alistair J Thompsn, Royal Navy

 

29 November 2012 sailed from and later berthed at Dubai

3 December 2012 to 8 December 2012 off Dubai with sea trials

9 December 2012 to 10 December 2012 at Jebel Ali

11 December 2012 sailed from Jebel Ali for Djibouti

15 December 2012 to 19 December 2012 berthed at Djibouti

20 December 2012 to 27 December 2012 at sea supporting Coalition Navies (Kipion Ready Tanker)

27 December 2012 to 2 January 2013 berthed at Fujairah

3 January 2013 at sea supporting Coalition Navies (Kipion Ready Tanker)

17 January 2013 to 21 January 2013 berthed at Bahrain

22 January 2013 to 27 January 2013 at sea supporting Coalition Navies (Kipion Ready Tanker)

28 January 2013 berthed at Jebel Ali

29 January 2013 to 7 February 2013 at sea supporting Coalition Navies (Kipion Ready Tanker)

8 February 2013 to 28 February 2013 berthed at Al Hadd, Muharrag, Bahrain

28 February 2013 Captain Kevin D Rimell RFA assumed command

2 March 2013 at sea supporting Coalition Navies (Kipion Ready Tanker)

April 2013 became the seagoing headquarters of Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon of the Republic of Singapore Navy and his command staff of Commbined Task Force CTF151 for three months

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 Captain Kevin D Rimmell RFA and Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon
Image Crown copyright 2013

 10 April 2013 RASed with USS Kearsarge

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RFA Fort Victoria about to RAS with USS Kearsarge

 

26 May 2013 berthed alongside at Jebel Ali 

13 July 2013 RASed with HMAS NEWCASTLE in the Gulf of Aden

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HMAS Newcastle RASing with RFA Fort Victoria © Commonwealth of Australia

 

24 July 2013 sailed Dubai

13 August 2013 in the Arabian Sea RASed with HMAS NEWCASTLE

1 September 2013 sailed Jebel Ali

4 September 2013 berthed at Mina Salman, Bahrain

22 October 2013 in the Indian Ocean and with HMAS MELBOURNE and the South Korean destroyer ROKS Wang Geon effected the detention of nine pirates in two boats together with their equipment

22 November 2013 - arrived at Port Said - northbound

30 November 2013 anchored in Gibraltar Bay off the south arm of the Dockyard

 Ft Vic Gib Dec 2013

© Captain Shaun Jones OBE RFA

3 December 2013 sailed from Gibraltar

9 December 2013 berthed at Crombie, River Forth after stopping 20 armed pirate groups and seizing more than 50 pirates having completed a 40 month deployment. Away from the UK for 1,197 days she acted as Britain's leading warrior against 21st century piracy in the Indian Ocean

16 December 2013 sailed Crombie, River Forth

18 December 2013 berthed at Loch Striven Oil Fuel Depot

12 January 2014 arrived at Liverpool

 

Notes:

The Navy had a requirement for at least 4 of this Class of ship and had originally hoped to have 6 of them but Defence Budgets reduced the Class to just 2. FORT VICTORIA was built in 29 sections

 

Additional information

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