Aided by four tugs the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria arrived
at Falmouth Docks on Tuesday, April 6, morning’s tide, to begin a multi-million pound refit that will last until mid August. Looking somewhat tired after a busy operational year, first supporting HMS Ark Royal in the Gulf War and then a period in the north of Scotland, the ship is having an extensive refit.
A&P Falmouth Commercial Director David Daniel said that the refit would involve approximately three hundred men per day working on the ship. “This is a major MoD contract for Falmouth and one that we are delighted to have won, and is the biggest contract for the docks in its recent history.” This is the second multi-million pound refit won by the yard in a month. HMS Endurance the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Vessel, currently in the South Atlantic, will arrive in June for a four month long refit.
The winning of two major MoD contracts in such a short space of time is unprecedented in modern times and sends a clear message that the MoD recognise the quality of work at Falmouth and the importance of Falmouth as a leading shiprepair port.
David Daniel explained
the work involved in the prestigious contract to refit Fort Victoria. “The hull will be fully blasted and painted. Engineering work involves work to the main engines and auxiliaries. Fort Victoria’s communications system is to be updated along with other equipment and systems. Modifications to the ship’s pipe work, routine repairs and a full painting programme will see around three hundred men employed for most of the summer.”
HRH The Duchess of York, Fort Victoria’s sponsor named the ship in 1990. The multi-million pound Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) when laid down in 1986 represented a new class of one-stop replenishment ship, the concept of which was on the Admiralty Board back burner as long ago as 1980. Originally the MoD planned to build six of the class to support anti-submarine frigates in the North Atlantic, however, the end of the Cold War meant military planners cancelled the remaining four ships.
The 31,500 ton ship can carry 12,000 tons of fuel and 6,000 tons of dry stores. In the late 1990’s Fort Victoria was armed with a Phalanx weapons system