No revolution but evolution for the RFA

21st September 2007, 09:15
From THE NAVY NEWS Website:
No revolution but evolution for the RFA
03.09.07 18:21

"THE Navy’s vital auxiliary fleet will largely remain as it is, senior officers have ruled after a two-year review.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary – which operates repair vessels, tankers, training ships and floating warehouses to support the RN’s global operations – has found itself increasingly fulfilling front-line roles in recent years.

Auxiliaries can currently be found conducting anti-drug operations in the Caribbean (RFA Wave Ruler) and serving as a mother ship for Iraqi Navy trainees in the Gulf (RFA Sir Bedivere).

Such roles are very different from the ones the fleet carried out two decades ago – and prompted senior officials at Fleet Headquarters in Portsmouth to look at the long-term future of the RFA.

Six options for the future auxiliary fleet were considered by top brass: do nothing; use a commercial support fleet; use a mix of commercial/RN/RFA; bring some of the RFA Fleet into the RN, notably the Bay-class landing support ships; bring the RFA entirely under RN control and manning; or go for an evolved RFA.

The Navy Board has decided that the RFA – founded in 1905 – should remain a separate service and should ‘evolve’, with RFA practices increasingly mirroring those in the Senior Service; wherever possible, training for RFA sailors will take place alongside their RN counterparts.

The “Evolved RFA’ idea has now been endorsed by the Navy Board but a lot more work is required as Fleet HQ looks to plan for an ‘afloat support fleet’ which will be capable of meeting the needs of the Royal Navy of 2020.

Maritime trade unions and all the RFA’s personnel will be consulted about any future changes to the auxiliary fleet’s structure."

21st September 2007, 09:55
I'm glad I'm retired! (Smoke)

25th December 2007, 11:03
I am not too sure on what i make of this, i applied to the RFA and my interview is january the 14th i hope it remains seperate, i dont want to join the royal navy hence why i applied here.

25th December 2007, 12:55
I think this means that the RFA will evolve into the RN.

26th December 2007, 00:33
I have never had the slightest desire to join the RFA or the RN during my seagoing days, but my understanding as to why the RFA were designated as merchant ships, rather than warships, was that it made it simpler for them to use civilian port facilities and they did not require diplomatic clearance to enter foreign ports. This, of course, would depend upon foreign governments recognising their merchant ship status, and this they are unlikely to do if they are used in quasi-military and policing type roles.

26th December 2007, 12:02
Gentlemen, if you read the report, the option of total integration with the RN was rejected, so it will remain separate for the foreseeable future.
Quite what evolution will involve has yet to be seen.
The advantage of not requiring dipclear used to be a factor but has not applied for some time now since most RFAs are armed and have a clear military function. The main reason for the service remaining civilian manned and MN registered was always economic.
As the world is now ruled by accountants, it will survive as long as it can operate its ships with smaller, more versatile crews than the Navy.

31st December 2007, 12:20
[QUOTE=Lancastrian;172285]Gentlemen, if you read the report, the option of total integration with the RN was rejected, so it will remain separate for the foreseeable future.

I agree, however, The RFA lads will still have to endure the constant crap from some officers who are Navy wanabee's (I am not starting an argument here) I never wanted to join the Navy, and in the 14 years I served in the RFA, we were costantly being bombarded with instructions like "you've got to salute the new captain when he gets aboard and take his luggage to his cabin" As a seasoned Seaman for the RFA at that time, I took that order with the contempt it deserved. I laughed at the officer of the day and told him find some other mug to do it (I have softened this down a bit) but now, as the older generations are leaving the RFA the younger crews will be told that this sort of thing is RFA Practice when it isn't, and because nobody would challenge this so called RFA Practice it will become as such. So to sum up...If you haven't fallen asleep by now. I think the RFA Is becoming more and more like a Royal Navy, not of policy, but of small increases to the RN way of life.
Happy new year tonight gents honk your ships whistles till the steam runs out....Andy[=P]

31st December 2007, 21:38
Perhaps so Strawberry, but at least the RFA lads of today will still have jobs.
And maybe if your bolshie attitude had been less prevalent, fewer jobs would have been lost to the third world.
I'm not sure that showing respect or carrying the Old Man's luggage is exclusively an RN practice. I bet the Captain of the Queen Victoria doesnt carry his own!

31st December 2007, 22:47
How does one run a tug if the crew are allowed to choose which orders they will follow? Unless of course, one applies a different set of rules now that it is oneself calling the shots.

1st January 2008, 09:41
The previous posts (by Strawberry) concerning the calibre of RFA Officers leaves me speechless, I served some 30 years in the "Service" and I never encountered any of that type of "order".
All RFA people were as a generaraliity were some of the best people one could have as shipmates.
When your ship is in company with a Royal Naval warship on a "DipClear" visit then certain standards were required and met.
The standards of Seamanship in the RFA were of the highest after all Rasing is Seamanship on the move, and it has to be done right every time.
For example RFA Olmeda carried out 155 RAS's in one month during the Falklands War mostly at night and "blacked out".
Indeed some RFA personnel are trained at Dartmouth and other Naval establishments if you care to go back a couple of months you'll see there is an section in the Daily Telegraph with a list of RFA Officers.
passing out from Dartmouth.
I have nothing but great memories of my time with the RFA, and, oh! yes, we were the best of the lot at our core job- Replenishment at Sea- ask the Royal Navy.
Yours aye,

1st January 2008, 16:30
Well done Slick and Lancastrian.

A good example of why officers like myself were keen to keep seperate bars, and as for when my company wanted to go for an abomination by the name of "Social Integration".................enough said.


4th January 2008, 17:54
Gentlemen, Oh Dear, I have hit a nerve again. Thank you all for your comments. This Captain, completely blanked me when he walked up the gangway. "I said hello captain" and he completely ignored me. Hence my reaction to the OOD, When he told me to take his bags to his cabin.
As for the Tug Crew... I would never,and have never asked a crewman to do something I would not do myself.
To Mr Slick, I Said "Some Officers" Not "All Officers!
To Mr Lancastrian "so, It's my Fault that many jobs have been lost to the third world?" Please feel free to blame me for all our country's failings.
and finally to Mr twogrumpy "Your comment about seperate Bars, Fair enough, but I would welcome you to the crew bar with open arms, I'm not a person for Class Segragration!"
I really do appreciate all your comments, Thank you again. Andy

24th January 2008, 16:21
At the risk of a confrontation. I will have to say that I don't share the same view as Andy. I have done two spells in the RFA 1958/1963 and again 1996/2002. I personally have never had any problems with Officers, ok perhaps there were one or two who perhaps thought they were a bit extra special but no more than that. I have always been polite and I expect the same in return. I have come across some very nice people who where and are officers in the RFA and the then was RMAS. I will rest my case there.

Ray Mac
24th January 2008, 17:07
Good on you (Old Strawberry) I have a few shipmates who are still in the RFA but I also remember in the 60s and 70s about recruiting MIRROR MEN!!.
plus if you had a DR in the 60s you were told by the POOL the only way back was a couple of trips with RFA.

24th January 2008, 17:27
Burned toast Hi,
I've never really found out, what were Mirror Men?. As regards DR's and Double DR's. in The late 50's early 60's there weren't a great deal of Company men in the RFA and yes had to rely on Pool men and as there were so many plumb jobs around in those days, the RFA's were bottom of the pile so to speak. I have to be honest and say that I have sailed with some crews of character in the old day's.