The tanker RFA Wave Knight is to take over patrol duties from the patrol vessel HMS Mersey in the Caribbean.

According to the Royal Navy, Mersey’s focus has largely been drug-busting duties, mixed with visiting British territories in the region and generally flying the flag for the UK in the Americas and Caribbean.

The Atlantic Patrol Tasking North, APT(N), task centres on reassurance to UK overseas dependent territories, providing humanitarian and disaster relief during the main hurricane season and conducting counter narcotic patrols as part of the wider international effort.

The Commander of HMS Mersey said:
“After six busy months away from the UK, HMS Mersey has visited all but one of the UK Overseas Territories, conducted training and exercises with the region’s coastguards and navies, carried out counter-narcotics patrols across the Caribbean, resulting in a £12m bust, and hosted key defence engagements in Central America.

As I hand over Atlantic Patrol Task North duties to RFA Wave Knight, I wish them a successful deployment in support of the international effort to stem the flow of narcotics in to the region.”

Captain Peter Selby RFA, Commanding Officer RFA Wave Knight said:
“Having completed our training and pre-deployment preparations only last week, it has been very beneficial to meet up with HMS Mersey to fully understand what we can expect in the coming months.

All onboard are looking forward to a busy period of defence engagement and countering the illegal narcotics trade during our time on station.”

RFA Wave Knight is a Wave class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.


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David Anthony Simpson

Personally I really don’t like this approach to policing our responsibilities.


Paul Fears

Perhaps you don’t really understand the task at hand or the capabilities of the asset being used.

Oh I understand the task very well thank you. I also understand it’s our Navy that has the full legal authorities in all situations. The RFA is a civilian organisation despite having naval detachments aboard. To me the This is more about continuing to do tasks traditionally done by proper fighting ships but alas we have insufficient these days to cover all tasks. You also have to view things from an adversary or external political perspective. The lack of a proper fighting guard ship in these areas creates other negative perspectives. That of course does not undermine the practical work… Read more »

Adrian Bennett

The soon we get the batch 2 river class the better



However even the Rivers are an opportunity lost.

For the same or less money the RN could have had a true ocean going PV for these ‘presence’ missions abroad….
And the best available was the ‘Holland’ class used by the Dutch navy fly their flag in their Caribbean possessions.

Alex Williams

Surely RFAs shouldn’t be used in this sort of role?

Paul Laycock

My thoughts exactly.

Paul Fears

They have been for many years.

Alex Williams

I’m trawling my memory and still not sure, but wouldn’t using them in roles meant for warships infringe some treaty or other?

Paul Fears

I can assure you they have been carrying out these tasks for decades. They have RN and US LEDET embarked for counter narcotics ops for boardings etc and helos also embarked. Ideal for the roll.

Paul Fears

Not to mention being perfectly suited for any disaster relief ops which are very common in the area.

Keeran Stephenson

The RFA Wave Knight carries a lot more naval personnel than HMS Mersey and has a more enhanced weapons capability. It’s not a terrible move!

Marc Graham

Hi Keeran, can I ask what weapons it has? How is it enhanced? Thanks.

Keeran Stephenson

This is the standard Armaments of HMS Mersey

Keeran Stephenson

This is the standard Armaments of RFA Wave Knight

Chris Power

The embarked helicopter alone makes it a massive upgrade to the River Class.

Keeran Stephenson

Very True, The operational support it currently provides is immense

Albert Yome

Tankers being used because of lack of frigates.

Ben Stewart

More crew, more fire power, flight deck and hanger, enough spare room for extra personnel such as USCG boarding teams with have been embarked on wave boats before and more room for disaster relief stores… Win win surely

Benjamin Bendall

This man knows!!

Benjamin Bendall

Same old comments…….”why are RFAs doing it” blah blah blah……because they are far more suited perhaps! Save the warships for the gulf/horn of Africa etc.

Russell Bushby

I am interested to hear that the Wave Knight is armed. How heavily, and how appropriately for this kind of operation?

Benjamin Bendall

Last time I was on there, 2x Phalanx CIWS, 2x30mm, at least 4 Miniguns and about the same amount of GPMGS

Russell Bushby

Thank you, that’s impressive. Any idea what kind of helicopter will be committed for this kind of mission?

Paul Fears

It will probably be a US asset.

Russell Bushby

Thank you

Benjamin Bendall

RN Lynx Mk8 came in just before I paid off

Russell Bushby

Thank you!

Glenn Middlemiss

royal navy ferry

Shane Daniels

Sunshine boys trip

Michael Roddis

You’ve done a few matey lol

Chris Power

It’s better suited to this role than a Fishery Protection Vessel!

James Spencer Hammond

Dane Johnathan Fitzpatrick this is the massive ship we saw at Portsmouth

Phil Earley

Be careful what you disclose in the public domain. Maybe available already but a certain person asking a lot of questions. Don’t get caught out


I agree the right ship for the job but it does get a bit unsettling when the RFA seems to almost be on course to have more assets than the RN. With the 4 Tide-class tankers coming on so quickly at about one every 6 months, 3 MARS SSS committed to in SDSR 2015 and probably also going to be on a build schedule far quicker than T26, and the Wave Class commissioned less than 15 years ago so staying in service alongside the Tide Class (???), that’s a pretty respectable lineup when other assets already in service are considered… Read more »

Freda Pidgeon

love these ships and those that work on them.


The Tide class are not entering service as quick as you think. The builders DSME are being investigated for $1.47Billion fraud. The company have offered a $4.5Billion rescue plan by selling assets and wage reductions but that is now causing strikes! As for the commitment to build more SSS ships in the last SDSR unfortunately, the Brexit vote has probably scuppered that. The Gov will now probably not commit to the 2% of GDP on Defence spending. Also our GDP is forecast to reduce under Brexit therefore 2% of not very much is ……………Guess who has an interview with the… Read more »

Rachael swan

When is it due back in the UK, I want my husband home ha ha.