RFA Fort Rosalie has paid a rare visit to Moroccan port of Tangier.

The oldest ship in the naval service with nearly 42 years under her belt, Fort Rosalie was launched as Fort Grange at Greenock in 1976 with a guard of honour of local Sea Cadets who included one Gerry Patterson.

Four decades later he’s now her commanding officer – bringing her home to the UK for a refit so she can continue her service.

The stores/supply ship’s visit to the North African metropolis was the first by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in more than two years say the Royal Navy; Rosalie is returning to the UK from the Gulf region where she’s helped sustain the ongoing naval clampdown on smuggling, trafficking and terrorism.

“This visit was very successful in further cementing relationships with the Moroccan Armed Forces,” said Capt Patterson.

“Morocco has a long tradition of economic and diplomatic relationships with the UK and this is just one more aspect of our existing close friendship which we seek to strengthen.”


  1. Joined at her in the builders yard in Greenock and did all the trials and whathave you and stayed or should i say served on her for the following two years
    She is still the Fort Grange to me and always will be

  2. I served on this ship when it was the Fort Grange I was captains tiger looking after Commodore Sam Dunlop what a character never a dull moment I remember all the official parties held on board great Times.

  3. I think you need to take another look, as it is Crombie jetty in Scotland at the moment. I know cos my son is on there.

  4. The fort class were a great design. Really capable and durable.
    Lets hope the coming MARS design is built in the UK and proves as durable and capable

  5. What does the French Navy do for replenishment? From looking at Wikipedia it would appear that their supply ships are 3 Durance Class 17,800 tonne (fully loaded) replenishment oilers and nothing else. Compare that with the UK’s soon to be 4 x 39,000 tonne Tide Class tankers and, once the SSS part of MARS has delivered its first 2 ships, 2 x 40,000-ish tonne new MARS SSS plus the 33,675 tonne Fort Victoria still in service (maybe at some point to be replaced by a third new MARS SSS ship) and presumably also the two fairly young Wave Class tankers at 31,500 tonnes each also remaining in service for a while.

    I know we like to complain about lack of UK assets but comparing the supply capability of the RFA vs what the French Navy seems to have for similar sized fleets it seems quite a disconnect. Even if both the Wave Class tankers were cut to leave only the 4 Tides and Fort Victoria was cut with no replacement 4 x big tankers plus 2 x big SSS is still a lot compared to France’s 3 x medium sized oilers.

    Is Wikipedia missing some French supply vessels? Does the French Navy do a lot of chartering of commercial supply vessels? Is the French Navy less blue water and/or does more forward basing so simply does less RAS?

    I’m really struggling to understand, given the assets the RFA has and hence presumably that the RN needs, how the French seem to have so much less. I would be very grateful if someone could educate me here.

    • One issue to factor in is that their carrier is nuclear powered hence less of a requirement for an accompanying task group tanker (other than for escorts). Med focus too, less so in Atlantic of recent years. My best guesses, but coincidentally something I was thinking about lately as well given the current UK/French joint working and state of the RFA fleet.

    • Thanks guys. I wonder whether the Med focus and fewer long stints away from home ports vs the RN means the French have less of a problem, or maybe no problem at all, with shortage of personnel particularly engineers.

  6. Its interesting really, France built the Charles De Gaulle when outside of NATO.

    One option might be, considering their med focus and the amount of NATO air bases throughout the area, half the reason for her build has ceased to exist.

    Also, considering she’s getting on for 20 years in commission, I wonder if thoughts have turned to a replacement, after all it takes about 10 years to get from decision to ocean waves with these hugely complex warships.

  7. John, you may know this already, but the French bought the design for the QE carriers. They were going to build one, to compliment the CDG, so that they were a two carrier fleet. Lots of opposition from the French military establishment (didn’t like buying a British design, wanted another nuclear powered carrier etc) and then the financial crisis led to the plan being scrapped. As far as I know, no further plans have emerged..


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