The upkeep of the laid-up tankers RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler has cost £13 million since 2019.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently detailed the costs incurred for the maintenance and preservation of the RFA Wave Ruler and RFA Wave Knight.
From 2019 to 2022, the cumulative expenditure amounted to £13 million, with annual costs as follows:
- 2019-20: £3 million
- 2020-21: £3 million
- 2021-22: £3 million
- 2022-23: £4 million
These figures cover care, protection, dehumidification, essential maintenance, and any necessary commercial wharfage.
The MoD has confirmed that both Wave Knight and Wave Ruler will remain in Extended Readiness until 2028. Wave Ruler was designated as such in 2017, with Wave Knight following in 2022. The option for reactivation is being kept under review, but current indications suggest their return to active service is improbable.
In 2018, there was speculative interest from Brazil in acquiring one or both vessels, but these discussions did not advance.
NavyLookout notes that the present fleet of active tankers, including the modest capacity of RFA Fort Victoria, suffices for the Royal Navy’s replenishment needs.
Not only that, I’ve been told there just isn’t the crew for these ships.
The absence of support tankers in the RFA fleet highlights the strategic significance of these vessels for prolonged operations. As these vessels stay in Extended Readiness, their eventual fate, be it reactivation or sale, will eventually be known many more millions of pounds down the road.