A NAVY support ship arrives back in Portland tomorrow after more than a year at sea which saw it catch drug runners in the Caribbean.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Wave Knight, a fleet replenishment tanker, has been on a 15-month deployment as part of the Royal Navy’s Atlantic Patrol Task (North).
It has been helping to support the UK’s overseas territories, disaster relief, counter narcotics operations and defence engagement.
During the height of the 2013 hurricane season RFA Wave Knight was joined by Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Lancaster which deployed to the region for a seven-month tour.
The ship’s commanding officer Captain Duncan Lamb, said: “Over the past 15 months Wave Knight has provided tremendous capability and value in the Caribbean with notable success in disrupting regional crime. At the same time, we remained ready, on short notice, to support any crisis across the world. This is a testament to the commitment, training and versatility of the small ship’s company.”
The 31,500 tonne ship’s patrol included the following achievements:
- Seized 1536kg of cocaine and 1520kg of marijuana, leading to 29 suspected drug runners detained by United States authorities
- The first ever embarkation of a United States Coast Guard helicopter tactical squadron to a non-United States ship for 292 days of the ship’s 471-day deployment
- Steamed 54,915 miles from Portland in Dorset to Portland in the Caribbean, equivalent to 2.5 times round the world
- Called at 21 different ports and raised £3,000 for charity
RFA Wave Knight carried humanitarian stores including those supplied by the UK Department for International Development in case of a hurricane or other disaster. Before deploying from the UK the crew completed a training package in Plymouth which tested and developed their ability to plan and deliver support to relief operations.
RFA Wave Knight (A389) is a Wave-class Fast Fleet Tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was launched in 2000 and accepted into service in 2003.
The ship is crewed by 77 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and supported by three Royal Naval personnel for weapons systems operations. The ship regularly embarks up to 11 US Law Enforcement Personnel whilst operating in the Caribbean region.
RFA Wave Knight is able to operate in support of amphibious forces, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations and protection of vital sea areas and shipping.
The RFA Service is a flotilla of 13 support ships to the Royal Navy also delivering support to UK and allied armed forces around the world. Owned by the Ministry of Defence, it is manned by British civilian sailors who are trained to Merchant Navy Standards prior to undertaking the military training required to operate alongside the Royal Navy.