Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker impresses MPs in Plymouth

THERE is praise ringing in the ears of the crew of Britain’s newest tanker RFA Tideforce after they treated MPs to "war" off the coast of Plymouth.

Dressed in combat fatigues, MPs Derek Thomas (who represents St Ives in Cornwall) and Luke Pollard (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport) learned about the crucial work of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary off the Devon coast.

The politicians joined Tideforce – fourth and final of the impressive Tide class – in the midst of a Thursday War off Plymouth as the ship underwent her first ever spell of Operational Sea Training, a test which all ships must pass before deploying around the globe.

The MPs were treated to an action-packed day in sublime South Coast weather conditions including small boat operations, a replenishment at sea (with Dutch patrol ship Friesland), flying operations, anti-surface and anti-air warfare, fire-fighting and damage-control exercises, and casualty handling.

There was also time to tour the ship, meet the ship’s company and enjoy action messing (a quick meal served to keep stomachs filled and energy levels up in the middle of battle).

The day of war was organised as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which gives MPs an insight into the world of the armed forces so that they have a better understanding of service life, conditions and operations when they debate and vote on military issues.

Mr Pollard was overwhelmed by the “incredible skill on show” from the Tideforce team.

"The RFA are often overlooked but they do amazing work alongside the Royal Navy every day – without them we wouldn’t have the successful Navy we have today."

The tanker’s Commanding Officer Captain Richard Davies RFA added: “We were able to show our guests a snapshot of life onboard an RFA – replenishment at sea, warfare, small boat operations and flying operations – all of which showcased how talented our people are and how they have to be able to multi-task and adapt quickly from one role to another."

We were able to show our guests a snapshot of life onboard an RFA – replenishment at sea, warfare, small boat operations and flying operations

Captain Richard Davies RFA, Commanding Officer