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.



    • 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 these RFAs achieve but that is not my point.

    • Indeed.

      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.

  1. 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

  2. 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 (e.g. Bays). I know that there are huge staffing issues with the RFA, especially trained engineers, but as far as vessels goes it seems in a better state than the RN.

    What are the RFA ships closest to retirement? I know that Argus and Dilligence are discussed a lot and are pretty old but what else? What is getting phased out when the Tides and MARS SSSs start coming into service?

  3. 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 RFA very shortly!!!!!


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