RFA Tiderace is now in dry dock at Cammell Laird receiving routine maintenance.

The Ministry of Defence describe her role in the following way:

“RFA Tiderace is predominantly deployed on replenishment at sea operations. These involve refuelling Royal Navy ships while they are on operations, delivering vital supplies, and transporting specialist personnel, including Royal Marines Commandos. RFA Tiderace undertakes a range of other maritime operations, including policing shipping lanes and providing humanitarian aid. It also has capacity for a large Chinook helicopter on the flight deck, making it more versatile than previous tankers.”

Each of the four vessels in the 21st-Century generation of Tides can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour – nearly 400,000 gallons, or 1½ million litres… enough to fill the tanks of more than 27,000 family runarounds, say the Royal Fleet Auxilliary

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Thats one big beastie, but the welding seems a bit rough.


I guess these vessels will be closely monitored by the MOD to see if tendering such ships to foreign yards is a feasible option medium to long term. The rate of wear and plate/weld integrity will be under the spotlight. There are more support ships required and only time will tell where they will be built?


Seeing as many large companies from Maersk to Shell have ships built at the same Korean yards I would not be too concerned, Oil and Gas companies like Shell would be very concerned on quality for obvious reasons. Whether we should be building that’s different discussion.

Paul T

Indeed,was thinking of a recent programme (Worlds Biggest Ships) -from that I am pretty confident the South Korean Shipyards are competent enough to Fabricate and Weld a Modern Ship,Military or Civilian.


Entered service Aug 2018 and 16 months later in for maintenance and a refit. Is it me, or is that seem a very short time.


That’s what happens when DSME (Daewoo) build boats in Korea for you to a price.


The Entering Service date is not important. The date when first into the water is. Underwater paint, cathodic protection anodes, and Hull valves are usually checked and repaired/ replaced every 5 years.
As stated below its a Lloyd’s requirement to Dock down commercial vessels at set periods in there life. Military vessels are no different and usually Dock down more often as the maintenance regime is usually a lot tighter.


She was launched over four years ago, your not going to leave a hull in the water for much longer that that.


Already ???


It could be due to Lloyds Certification.


Have the Phalanx CIWS been fitted yet? That may be one issue, them being fitted. But it’s not unusual for maintenance/refits at this stage in any warshipo or auxiliary.


Hi Frank,

I understand the Phalanx are only fitted when entering a high threat theatre. Normal benign taskings wouldn’t merit having them installed.

If anyone has better or more accurate information, I am happy to be corrected.

Darren Cook

You are correct, there are only so many Phalanx units and due to their modular nature they get moved around as required, from ship to ship or to shore even. I’ve been out a few years so i’ve forgotten the name of the unit responsible for maintenance but it believe it was a good number.

Daniele Mandelli

40 something I recall?


RFA Tidespring has them fitted.


Hi Frank and Geoff
Even though she only entered service in 2018, she has been afloat for 4 years now and her 1st voyage covered half the globe I’d say she’s about due for maintenance period