RFA Availability

LouisB
3rd August 2013, 22:21
I see a type 45 is out in the Pacific and calling at Pearl Harbour et al.
It is reported however that there is no RFA support available and refuelling etc. is to be carried out from various shore stations. I think the words prayer and a song come to mind. What say you??

LouisB. (Scribe)

trotterdotpom
3rd August 2013, 23:20
Are they liable to run out of petrol?

John T

NickNZ
4th August 2013, 02:26
I knew it, the MoD is considering the values of sail, as the ultimate 'stealth' option.
HMS Victory will be back at sea, before you can say Belleref..., ship, and Mary Rose will undergo a refit.

sparkie2182
4th August 2013, 02:44
"Are they liable to run out of petrol?"

Does it matter if they do?

I hope they have Wolf Rock clearly charted............just in case.

trotterdotpom
4th August 2013, 06:02
"...I hope they have Wolf Rock clearly charted............just in case."

Everyone gets the Channels when the lookout shouts: "It's the Woleff! It's the Woleff!"

John T

alan ward
4th August 2013, 10:34
Lovely food at the Bishop and Wolf in St.Marys,freshest fish I have ever tasted.

GBXZ
4th August 2013, 10:58
A sign of the times, a modern warship and hull design, with super efficient gas turbine propulsion, and no need to maintain a 70% fuel reserve. Top up from the USN in Panama then a gentle cruise to Pearl.
In our time it would have been a group deployment complete with a FOF, a Capt D and a fleet train of an O boat, a Ness boat and maybe a Leaf to top everybody up.

chadburn
4th August 2013, 11:06
I believe that the first Type 45 on its first trip to America did a RAS from an American Logistics Vessel. No mention of green shield stamps!!

"Lecky"
27th February 2014, 15:53
(Wave)A sign of the times, a modern warship and hull design, with super efficient gas turbine propulsion, and no need to maintain a 70% fuel reserve. Top up from the USN in Panama then a gentle cruise to Pearl.
In our time it would have been a group deployment complete with a FOF, a Capt D and a fleet train of an O boat, a Ness boat and maybe a Leaf to top everybody up.

R736476
6th March 2014, 08:40
HMS Montrose bunkered in Grand Harbour, Malta last Saturday from the Maltese flag "Santa Maria". Times can quickly change and ports made unavailable. No doubt with a valid credit card you can top up from the worldwide offshore bunkering fleets/service stations such as off Mauretania, Mozambique channel, east of Malta etc! No guarantees offered on the dieso hygiene.

James_C
6th March 2014, 11:40
Apparently the RFA also has manpower problems, particularly with regards retention, hence a massive recruitment campaign.
In December, RFA Mounts Bay had been tasked to support a Norwegian Exercise but simply couldn't go due to manpower issues, therefore another (non RFA) vessel was sent.

LouisB
6th March 2014, 13:08
Apparently the RFA also has manpower problems, particularly with regards retention, hence a massive recruitment campaign.
In December, RFA Mounts Bay had been tasked to support a Norwegian Exercise but simply couldn't go due to manpower issues, therefore another (non RFA) vessel was sent.

Not saying that there wasn't a definite cause that MB was not available for the implied reason but can't see this happening as stated. Leave or no leave, personnel could and would be pressed into service at very short notice, irrespective. As sponsored reservists and if the request was urgent enough, crewing should not be a problem - in fact it would be a requirement. What vessel would replace her for the tasking involved? I don't for one moment think that lack of crew had much to do with any scheduled requirements deficiencies - maybe some internal MofD (Navy) politics was/is taking place?

LouisB. (Scribe)

James_C
6th March 2014, 14:05
Not saying that there wasn't a definite cause that MB was not available for the implied reason but can't see this happening as stated. Leave or no leave, personnel could and would be pressed into service at very short notice, irrespective. As sponsored reservists and if the request was urgent enough, crewing should not be a problem - in fact it would be a requirement. What vessel would replace her for the tasking involved? I don't for one moment think that lack of crew had much to do with any scheduled requirements deficiencies - maybe some internal MofD (Navy) politics was/is taking place?

LouisB. (Scribe)

LouisB,
That's not how the sponsored reserve system is intended to work - it's for wartime use only.
Whilst it may 'technically' be possible to call out people from their earned leave for routine taskings when a shortage occurs, not only is it expensive (those called out receive a call out bonus and a large salary bonus) it will win the appointers no friends and would likely seriously damage morale to the point of no return. After all, why would someone wish to work for a company which can (and potentially often will) call you back from your hard earned leave simply because the personnel department haven't got their house in order?
If you're in any doubt keep a careful eye on the various recruitment websites such as Clyde Marine - you will often see 'Urgent' adverts for junior officers and ratings for temporary postings on RFA's. This is something unheard of only a few years ago.
I was in Marchwood last December on my own ship when taskings were changed for Mounts Bay and her replacement - Eddystone - was hurriedly pressed into service to take part in the build up to Clockwork, which is the annual NATO frolics in Norway.
Diligence had a similar manning issue last year which kept her in port.

Scelerat
6th March 2014, 14:17
Not saying that there wasn't a definite cause that MB was not available for the implied reason but can't see this happening as stated. Leave or no leave, personnel could and would be pressed into service at very short notice, irrespective. As sponsored reservists and if the request was urgent enough, crewing should not be a problem - in fact it would be a requirement. What vessel would replace her for the tasking involved? I don't for one moment think that lack of crew had much to do with any scheduled requirements deficiencies - maybe some internal MofD (Navy) politics was/is taking place?

LouisB. (Scribe)

Perhaps the costs implied in "pressing" reservists, paying them, compensating their employers etc. made it a political issue best averted.

LouisB
6th March 2014, 18:13
LouisB,
That's not how the sponsored reserve system is intended to work - it's for wartime use only.
Whilst it may 'technically' be possible to call out people from their earned leave for routine taskings when a shortage occurs, not only is it expensive (those called out receive a call out bonus and a large salary bonus) it will win the appointers no friends and would likely seriously damage morale to the point of no return. After all, why would someone wish to work for a company which can (and potentially often will) call you back from your hard earned leave simply because the personnel department haven't got their house in order?
If you're in any doubt keep a careful eye on the various recruitment websites such as Clyde Marine - you will often see 'Urgent' adverts for junior officers and ratings for temporary postings on RFA's. This is something unheard of only a few years ago.
I was in Marchwood last December on my own ship when taskings were changed for Mounts Bay and her replacement - Eddystone - was hurriedly pressed into service to take part in the build up to Clockwork, which is the annual NATO frolics in Norway.
Diligence had a similar manning issue last year which kept her in port.

Hi Jim,

I have been out of the loop for many years now. My service in the 60's and 70's, had me on several occasions, joining another vessel well before my leave was up. I am still in touch with several ex colleagues from my RFA days and it is mainly from them that I draw most of my information.

Regarding 'sponsored reserve - I believe it is contractual and around eighty percent of officers and ratings come under those auspices. I don't know about wartime but when an RFA is in 'harms way' then although crewed by civilians, Naval rules apply - both in discipline and what the ship can do and cannot do with its defence systems. The days of Civil Servants ruling the roost are gone (thank God) and the ships - via the Commodore RFA - are tasked by CinC (Fleet). Nobody is saying they are RN, they are not, but are now officially designated as an integral part of the Naval Service. As I say, I'm out of the loop but still keep in touch with serving or recently retired personnel.

LouisB. (Scribe)

GBXZ
6th March 2014, 18:58
There is a dire shortage of Technical and Engineering "trades" within the RFA, and this may reach the state of withdrawing ships from operational use. There is no longer the manpower pool of British flagged shipping or the
output of colleges for management to draw on. Add to that competition from the energy sector with month on month off or similar manning and you have a shortage - supply and demand. Of course the manpower cuts of 2 years ago have nothing to do with it - yeah right.

chadburn
6th March 2014, 20:09
The original agreement with employers in regards to Reservists was that any threat had to be direct to G.B. There was a proviso that certain Drafts would be quietly filled as in what was my own situation (NCS) so that everything was up and running after taking over from Regulars who went off to do other things. In today's world of the Reservist it could be said that the situation in Afghanistan if it had been left unchecked could threaten the security of G.B. I would not have thought that Reservists filling manpower shortages in the RFA would come under the agreement in peacetime.

King Ratt
6th March 2014, 20:43
To back up the post by GBXZ. Notwithstanding the manpower cuts, I have heard via old RFA contacts that a major part of the manning problem stems from many in the Systems Engineering Branch having been seduced by the offshore and onshore windmill companies. Bigger carrots may have to be dangled to entice these skills back to sea.

zero
6th March 2014, 21:08
RFA current vacancies in 2014 are......http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/Careers/Royal-Fleet-Auxiliary/How-To-Join-the-RFA

Looking at the rates of STARTING pay for so called "Qualified Officers" someone needs to "get real". A "straight out of his/her apprenticeship time" would attract more than that working 0800-1630, five days a week, ashore.

It might however attract a member of the "bullshit brigade" looking at all the gold braid and chest adornments that's worn in todays RFA.

Scelerat
6th March 2014, 21:29
One of my 6th formers is going through the interview phase for a Cadetship. Maersk, RFA and Carnival. Given the pay options, and the fact that he wants to be actually at sea, I don't think that the RFA is going to be his choice. Those pay rates aren't good. On the other hand, hanging around in Falmouth wouldn't be too tough.

chadburn
7th March 2014, 14:56
To back up the post by GBXZ. Notwithstanding the manpower cuts, I have heard via old RFA contacts that a major part of the manning problem stems from many in the Systems Engineering Branch having been seduced by the offshore and onshore windmill companies. Bigger carrots may have to be dangled to entice these skills back to sea.

It is a sorry state of affairs when the RFA cannot meet it's commitments in peacetime, how are they going to man the four new vessels when they come into Service?. Certainly your comment is correct in regards to offshore work being the more attractive, my eldest has never looked back, five weeks on five weeks off no matter where his vessel is in the World. Everything is taken care of, from him leaving his house in a Taxi till his return to his front door. New ship, great food and good pay.
Wartime it would be a different matter, the RFA vessels WILL
be manned.

Pat Kennedy
7th March 2014, 18:31
Are the RFA short of vessels? Well there are three of them in Birkenhead at the moment. Gold Rover, and Fort Rosalie have been here for months undergoing refit in Cammell Lairds, and Fort Victoria arrived in February, and word has it she will be here for a full year.
Fort Rosalie looks complete and she has been moved out of the yard and is lying alongside an out of the way berth in Birkenhead Docks, with no apparent activity on board.
Pat

https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/405065/title/rfa-fort-rosalie/cat/all

chadburn
7th March 2014, 19:07
Short of manpower it seems Pat.

Steve Oatey
10th March 2014, 02:15
Cheap shot from Scelerat about actually being at sea. Ships which are capable of replenishment at sea, and/or operating anti-submarine helicopters, tend to work bloody hard at sea. Not so bad for my own specialisation ( Engineering) , but long days and nights for all others.

Scelerat
10th March 2014, 10:24
Cheap shot from Scelerat about actually being at sea. Ships which are capable of replenishment at sea, and/or operating anti-submarine helicopters, tend to work bloody hard at sea. Not so bad for my own specialisation ( Engineering) , but long days and nights for all others.

Cheap shot, only because it's true.

George.GM
12th March 2014, 22:10
Ref Mr Zero in Post 19
The reason we wore gold braid on our sleeves was so that the Ratings would know who was telling them what to do (and how to do it). If they were jealous of this and had wanted to join us they could have studied for several years and taken and passed exams that equated with a university degree
As for the decorations, these were earned by deeds of derring do or by being in the areas where shot and shell were endemic.
So no more of this Communist claptrap please

kevhogg
12th March 2014, 22:31
George-I was AB for a few trips with the RFA in the early 80's and I can assure you I have never met an officer in the RFA who could tell an AB how to do his job!! I sailed with some excellent seamen on them ships and they were the ones that give the company its excellent reputation not the officers-oh and by the way I di go on to study at my own expense and mainly because 99% of the RFA officers at the time had your attitude I vowed never to step aboard another one of there ships again-haven't done too bad either along the way

Scelerat
13th March 2014, 11:48
Ref Mr Zero in Post 19
The reason we wore gold braid on our sleeves was so that the Ratings would know who was telling them what to do (and how to do it). If they were jealous of this and had wanted to join us they could have studied for several years and taken and passed exams that equated with a university degree
As for the decorations, these were earned by deeds of derring do or by being in the areas where shot and shell were endemic.
So no more of this Communist claptrap please

Communist? In what way?

George.GM
13th March 2014, 12:38
As far as I know, the communist doctrine believes that everyone is equal
and there should be no "masters" and "slaves". We are all "workers".
But, even in the well known communist states of Vietnam and China the military officer ranks are indicated by stripes or stars.

LouisB
13th March 2014, 15:04
Cheap shot from Scelerat about actually being at sea. Ships which are capable of replenishment at sea, and/or operating anti-submarine helicopters, tend to work bloody hard at sea. Not so bad for my own specialisation ( Engineering) , but long days and nights for all others.

Certainly the vessels were worked extremely hard and for long periods during my 11 years. Problem was at that time docking and repairs were on a commercial ship basis with ex commercial Superintendents overseeing things. Most civil servants overseeing the whole thing (and sometimes tasking vessels) had never been on a ship, let alone worked on one.

After Corporate, and the ships under CinC (Fleet) everything altered with (in most cases) properly funded long refits . Admittedly some ships had defensive systems installed etc but that was a comparatively small thing. At least the vessels were getting properly attended to and all defects being repaired, unlike what I experienced in the past. You cannot expect a not so new replenishment tanker that is worked very hard in all climes for long periods to have the same repair requirements as a commercial freighting A to B tanker.

LouisB. (Scribe)

Scelerat
13th March 2014, 15:16
After Corporate, and the ships under CinC (Fleet) everything altered with (in most cases) properly funded long refits . Admittedly some ships had defensive systems installed etc but that was a comparatively small thing. At least the vessels were getting properly attended to and all defects being repaired, unlike what I experienced in the past. You cannot expect a not so new replenishment tanker that is worked very hard in all climes for long periods to have the same repair requirements as a commercial freighting A to B tanker.

LouisB. (Scribe)

Of course you can't. The commercial tanker's period off charter for a survey or drydock or whatever will have considerable commercial impact on the owners and the charterers, whereas an RFA's time in refit and repair has no commercial impact. I would suggest that an actively trading commercial tanker actually has higher repair requirements, but that those repair requirements are sacrificed to the financial constraints of considerably lower manning and minimisation of time off charter.

slick
13th March 2014, 17:23
All,
I joined the RFA from General Traders, Bulk Carriers and Tramps, it was bad enough to be derided by the rest of the Merchant Navy, and treated with disdain by the RN, however in my 32 years in the RFA the ships I was on never missed a RDVU or RAS.
The RAS is a specialised form of Seamanship.
Further more there was a number of Tankers that were employed on "freighting" we generally looked on it as the easier part of the job.
During the Falklands War the ship I served on carried out some 250 Replenishments and manned a flightdeck for most of that time.
I think the other Services appreciated our efforts.
Like most Companies the RFA had its share of people who were rotters, no difference there then, but it also had some of the best.
It saddens me and I would imagine many others that there is a shortage of skilled seaman to undertake this essential role support role.

Yours aye'
slick