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RFA Diligence

RFA Diligence is a versatile vessel, which provides forward support for Her Majesties Ships and Submarines. Diligence is capable of providing a floating berth for submarines in foreign ports and can provide an over-side supply of electrical power, water, fuel, steam, air, stores and equipment in any forward position. Diligence also has workshop facilities and a large store of spares to provide a forward base for the repair and maintenance of Royal Naval vessels. Another of Diligence's roles is as a Mine Clearance Measures Command Platform for mine clearance operations.

On 15 June 2005 the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mr Adam Ingram, said in a written answer: "It is currently planned that RFA Diligence will remain in service until 2014. Decisions have yet to be taken on how best to deliver future Operational Maintenance and Repair capability." In late 2006 Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Limited (NSSL), based in Birkenhead, won a 16 million contract for a service life extension refit of RFA Diligence that would enable the ship to remain in service for another 10 years. Accommodation, galley and propulsion areas were all renewed and upgraded. The ship re-entered service in December 2007.

Built in Oresundsvarvet AB, Landskrona, Sweden for the Stena Company and launched in 1981 as the Stena Inspector. Traded in the North Sea as an Oil Rig Support Vessel until the Ministry of Defence chartered the ship in April 1982, as a Battle Damage Repair Ship for support of the operation to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina. Returned to the UK in 1983, purchased by MoD and entered RFA service on 12th March 1984 as RFA Diligence.

Diligence returned to serve in the Falklands, supporting the Royal Navy in the Falklands. A Naval Party, NP2010, embarked, carried out maintenance on all shipping serving in the waters around the Islands. Diligence made frequent voyages to South Georgia, in support of the Royal Marines garrisoned on the Island.

In 1990, Diligence redeployed to the Gulf and become the Base Repairship, with NP1600 embarked, stationed in Jebel Ali for operations in the Gulf after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Gave initial support to USS Tripoli and USS Princeton after the ships were hit by mines in the Northern Gulf waters.

Returned to the cooler waters of the Falklands in late 1991 and re-embarked NP2010. Continued to serve in the South Atlantic, only returning to the UK for refit periods.

In 1997 deployed from the UK to the Far East in support of a Royal Navy Task Group, visiting ports of Singapore, Hong Kong, Subic Bay, Yokosuka, Chinhae, Fremantle, Diego Garcia and Soudha Bay.

In early 1998 returned to the Gulf region, this time as a Command Platform in support of Royal Navy Mine Sweepers. The second half of 1998 saw Diligence return to the South Atlantic in support of Royal Navy submarines.

1999 saw the ships' last refit in the UK before deploying again to the Far East. Assisted HMS Turbulent to return to Gibraltar after an engineering failure. Continued her deployment around the Far East, based from Singapore.

2000 Diligence again visited the South Atlantic, returned to the UK in May 2001. Sailed from Portsmouth in July 2001 for the Gulf region with a MCM command team embarked, supporting Royal Navy Mine Sweepers for Exercise Saif Sariea.

Diligence remained East of Suez when all ships of exercise Saif Sariea returned to the UK. The ship continued to support Royal Navy submarines in the Gulf and Far East. In June 2002 after visiting Mombassa the ship rescued twenty Indian and Pakistan seafarers from a small general cargo ship in mid Indian Ocean during the south-west Monsoon. The Cox'n of the ships rescue boat, John Flaxman, was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal for his actions during the rescue.

The later part of 2002 saw the ship into the Pacific Ocean, as far as the Island of Guam, returning to Singapore for Christmas. Returned to the Gulf region in 2003 for operations in the Northern Gulf.

Refitted in Singapore, November 2003 - May 2004, finally departing Singapore in December for Colombo. Assisted in Humanitarian relief operations off the South East coast of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami. The ship again returned to the waters of the northern Gulf in 2005 and in April and May supported the Iraqi Navy in operations protecting the countries Oil Platforms.

July 2005 saw Diligence pass through the Suez Canal for the first time in four years and enter the cooler waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar was visited for a much-needed restoring period, before returning to an old friend the South Atlantic, again in support of Royal Navy submarines. On completion of Submarine Support and a busy maintenance period, Diligence returned to the Northern Gulf in December to continue its support of the Iraqi Navy.

In January 2006, Diligence returned again to the South Atlantic. In April a prolonged maintenance period in the South African Navy base at Simonstown before returning to the Indian Ocean in support of Royal Navy submarines.

While operating in the Indian Ocean, Diligence visited Goa in company with the Aquila Task Group which was lead by the Fleet Flag Ship HMS Illustrious and included major warships and auxiliaries of the RN, RFA, French and Indian Navies. The ship worked in company with the Task Group acting as both a compliant and non-compliant target for Boarding Exercises by naval boarding parties practising search techniques. On completion of Aquila, Diligence returned to her lonely singleton role for the long passage back to the Falklands via South Africa. An opportunity to conduct in-depth maintenance to the hull and propellers was provided when she dry-docked in East London (Princess Elizabeth Dock) in mid-June.

As of 2005 the Department expected to retain RFA DILIGENCE in service until around 2010. As the Secretary of State indicated in his evidence, studies were underway to examine options for the future afloat support capability in the round, but no decisions have yet been taken. As of 2006, the out of service date for RFA DILIGENCE was projected at 2014.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:04:53 ZULU