First Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel arrives at Cammell Laird at start of £619m deal

The two ‘Through Life Support’ contracts, with the Ministry of Defence will sustain more than 300 jobs  and will lead to the creation of 100 apprenticeships. Tony McDonough reports

RFA Tidespring
Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, RFA Tidespring, arrives at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead

 

Cammell Laird has welcomed the first Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel, RFA Tidespring, to its Birkenhead shipyard as part its £619m deal to maintain nine vessels over the next 10 years.

The two ‘Through Life Support’ contracts, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), will sustain more than 300 jobs at the Birkenhead business and in the supply chain and will lead to the creation of 100 apprenticeships.

Cammell Laird first won an RFA cluster contact in 2008 and the new Future In Service Support (FISS) contract, will see Cammell Laird maintain nine ships of the RFA flotilla, the maximum number the company could win.

The 39,000 tonne Tide-class tanker RFA Tidespring has moored at Cammell Laird for its inaugural docking period.

Two contracts

The MoD announced in October 2018 that Cammell Laird had been chosen to provide support to all four Tide class tankers – RFA Tidespring, RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce – following a competitive two-year tender process.

At the same time the company was awarded a second 10-year contract that will see it continue to provide support for the vessels RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Rosalie, RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler, which it has done since 2008.

RFA Tiderspring entered service in 2017 and is first in her class and her refit package will be carried out over the next four months involving survey work, and general repair and maintenance projects.

RFA Tidespring
Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, RFA Tidespring, arrives at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead alongside RSS David Attenborough

 

Newest addition

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.

John Kennedy, MoD programme director at Cammell Laird, said: “It’s an exciting time for everyone, marking the beginning of another 10-year contract and what I’m sure will be another very successful period of Cammell Laird supporting the RFA Flotilla.

It was fantastic to secure work for the ships we’ve been responsible for since 2008, and the icing on the cake was also winning the Tide class tankers contract. This is the reward for succeeding in what was a highly competitive two-year tender process and we’re looking forward to getting started.”

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