In pictures: RFA Tidespring enters the Mersey after first docking period
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s (RFA) Tide class tanker RFA Tidespring is ready to play a crucial role in future navy operations following the recent completion of its first docking period at Cammell Laird.
The 39,000 tonne tanker sailed from the Birkenhead shipyard’s non-tidal wet basin in December after undergoing a refit package that included survey work, and general repair and maintenance projects. The ship’s departure also represented another important milestone in Cammell Laird’s relationship with the RFA Fleet.
Following a competitive two-year tender process, the marine engineering services specialist was chosen to provide maintenance support for all four Tide Class tankers – RFA Tidespring, RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce – for a 10-year period. A separate 10-year contract gives Cammell Laird responsibility for supporting five other RFA vessels – RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Rosalie, RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler.
As well as being first in her class, RFA Tidespring was the first Tide class tanker to undergo maintenance in Birkenhead as part of the new Through Life Support agreement. Her arrival in Birkenhead followed an extremely successful first 15 months at sea.
Tide class tankers are the newest addition to the RFA Flotilla, designed to supply the Royal Navy’s warships, including the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, with fuel and water while deployed on operations. They are as long as three jumbo jets lined up nose-to-tail, and can carry 19,000 metres cubed of fuel and 1,300 metres cubed of fresh water.