The UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Wave-class fast fleet tanker, RFA Wave Knight (A389) returned to UK waters after completing a six-month Middle East deployment.
The 196-metre tanker spent seven months away from home – six of them in the Middle East, where she was used as a ‘floating service station’ to provide fuel to patrolling warships. In doing so, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel supported Royal Navy and coalition operations east of Suez, as well as NATO’s security mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sea Guardian.
The fueling rig was run out 29 times as Wave Knight’s cavernous tanks topped up British, French, Spanish and U.S. warships. The tanker pumped 12,276 cubic meters (12,276,000 liters) of ship fuel enough to fill the tanks of more than 220,000 family cars.
On top of that Wave Knight also delivered 319 cubic metres of fuel for helicopters and aircraft flown from allied warships in the region.
“I am proud of my ship’s company for the dedication and professionalism they have displayed whilst operating far from home and loved ones,” said Captain Simon Herbert RFA, Wave Knight’s Commanding Officer.
“Wave Knight has completed a successful deployment has included the delivery of maritime security making an important contribution to the freedom of navigation and provided direct maritime support to Royal Navy and coalition warships deployed to the Gulf and Arabian Sea. We are all looking forward to the journey home and some well-earned leave when it arrives.”
In her 200 days on operations, the tanker has travelled more than 24,000 miles, using more than 4,000 cubic metres of fuel herself. Her engines use 4½ litres for every 36 metres they power the 31,000-tonne vessel through the oceans.
The fuel tanks of the vessel will be pumped out at the fuel depot in Loch Striven, where she’s due to arrive on February 29. Once those are emptied, the ship will head to Devonport to offload remaining stores and supplies, then sail to Birkenhead at the end of March to begin a refit at the Cammell Laird yard.
Wave Knight was built by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, Ltd (VSEL) – after 1999, BAE Systems Marine – in Barrow-in-Furness, being launched in 2000.
The vessel was accepted into service in 2003 and is the second ship to bear this name in RFA service. Wave Knight and her sister RFA Wave Ruler (A390) replaced the 36,000-ton Ol-class fast fleet tankers RFA Olna (A123) and RFA Olwen (A122) which were built in the 1960s.