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May 12, 2022

UK Navy’s RFA Tidesurge conducts RAS trials with commercial tanker

The use of civilian oilers can ensure supply of fuel to RN’s fleet in contested environments.

The UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tide-class tanker Tidesurge has conducted replenishment at sea (RAS) trials using a commercial vessel.

The civilian tanker MT Maersk Peary in Lyme Bay was chartered by the US Military Sealift Command for the trails.

The objective of using a commercial tanker is to help the Royal Navy’s fleet during crucial times when military replenishment ships are unable to conduct port visits to deliver supplies.

The trials focused on making a way for Nato to use civilian tankers for replenishing naval fleet at sea during times of international crisis.

During the trials, the refuelling rigs from RFA Tidesurge was linked with the replenishment station of the civilian vessel Maersk Peary.

The two vessels were connected with each other to evaluate whether oil transfer can be performed between them or not.

The RAS trial saw no fuel transfer between the two vessels. However, it showcased the ability of a commercial oiler to successfully connect with a naval replenishment ship.

RFA chief operator involved with the trials captain Sam Shattock said: “This exciting trial is the first step for the Royal Navy in developing an organic national capability to consolidate Fleet Replenishment Oilers from commercial vessels.

“It has delivered assurance to both nations that the ability to work together remains a key tenet of our operational outputs.”

The Tide-class tanker RFA Tidesurge are primarily assigned to the Royal Navy’s task groups to fuel the service’s warships on operations around the world.

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