Tanker returns home after six-month mission

Veteran tanker RFA Wave Knight returns to UK waters after sustaining allied warships in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

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 US warships.

The tanker pumped 12,276 cubic metres of ship fuel – 12,276,000 litres… enough to fill more than 21½ million pint glasses… or 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.

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

Captain Simon Herbert

RFA Wave Knight’s role

With a ship’s company of 72 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel, RFA Wave Knight’s role is to deliver food, fuel, water and other essential supplies to Royal Navy and coalition warships. Thanks to Wave Knight, these ships can remain operational for months or even years at a time.

Wave Knight and her crew are capable of supporting amphibious forces, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations. They also play a vital role in protecting shipping routes, countering piracy, and providing humanitarian relief.

“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 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.