She has been a magnificent servant to the Royal Navy and wider defence over the years and so it was fitting that she had such a colourful send off.

Captain Jones

The ship, built in 1974, will spend her final days in the South Atlantic making a number of port visits before returning the UK for the last time sometime in 2016 before being retired. 

RFA Gold Rover will then be replaced by one of four Tide Class ships being built in South Korea with significantly more capability than the current versions. 

Commanding officer Captain Jones OBE, will command one of the new Tide Class ships. He joined the RFA the same year RFA Gold Rover entered service.

This is the third time he has served onboard. The first time was in 1979 as a Second Officer, then in 2004 as Captain and now once again in command. 

Captain Jones said: “It is a great honour to be in command of Gold Rover for her final departure from Devonport in an operational role. 

"She has been a magnificent servant to the Royal Navy and wider defence over the years and so it was fitting that she had such a colourful send off.” 

Built on the River Tyne she entered service in 1974.

She spent her early days in and around the Mediterranean Sea first transiting the Suez Canal in 1975 and continuing around the world until returning back to the UK via the Panama Canal in 1976.

This was to be the first of several global transits the next being in 1982 where she undertook Armilla Patrol in the Far East. 

Since then she has undertaken Atlantic Patrol Tanker (North) duties, and numerous deployments to the South Atlantic, returning to the UK for refit and maintenance periods.

In recent years she has undertaken more South Atlantic duties were she has been involved with counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations.